Don’t Post Personal Information About Your Case On Facebook
Many of my clients, especially the younger ones, have posted their activities on line on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other social networks. At this point, I must advise any personal against posting their activities that might possibly relate to a personal injury case. I have had clients post pictures of the accident scene. That activity in and of itself, is not harmful.
The problem arises when someone who is the victim of an accident puts on the record, or tells a doctor that they are disabled or unable to leave their home. A Facebook posting indicating that the victim is going to a party or going away for the weekend, contrary to their medical assessment etc, will have a detrimental effect on their personal injury case.
In a recent case, a woman sued Steelcase, claiming that the office furniture company was negligent. In that case the plaintiff, who was claiming serious injuries after falling off a Steelcase chair, was told by a judge that she needs to give Steelcase access to private Facebook and MySpace postings, as the company claims that the publicly available information contradicted her claims of injury and harm. Steelcase noted that what could be seen publicly:
“reveal[ed] that she has an active lifestyle and can travel and apparently engages in many other physical activities inconsistent with her claims in this litigation.” For example, Steelcase said Romano’s public profile on Facebook depicted her “smiling happily in a photograph outside the confines of her home despite her claim that she … is largely confined to her house and bed.”.
The Judge ignored the woman’s attorney’s protests and those of Facebook and reasoned that it was “reasonable to infer from the limited postings on Plaintiff’s public Facebook and MySpace profile pages, that her private pages may contain materials and information that are relevant to her claims or that may lead to the disclosure of admissible evidence.” I do understand the basic reasoning, but it does seem troubling, as there may be plenty of other private information that’s revealed in this manner.
If you have any questions regarding these issues contact Eric L. Reinken, a personal injury attorney with offices in Stamford and Greenwich, Connecticut.