Two years ago, I learned the hard way of the disastrous consequences a social networking site (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn) can have on a personal injury case. My client testified at her deposition under penalty of perjury that since her car accident one year prior, her neck pain left her almost unable to function. It was all she could do to drag herself from bed to the couch every day. She testified that her life had changed dramatically since the accident. This client was in her 20's. Prior to the accident, she led a very active lifestyle. She testified that since the accident, no more nightclubbing, participating in sports, road trips, travel, or movie theaters. Her neck pain kept her almost housebound, other than doctor visits.
Low and behold, the defense attorney disclosed to me that through his firm's sleuthing, he had found my client's Facebook and MySpace pages, which told a very different story. The pages contained photo after photo showing my client hiking, dancing, parasailing, riding an ATV, horseback riding, and on and on. A veritable goldmine for the defense. Each photo was dated. Tags indicated where the photos were shot, and the names of friends in the photos with my client. My client had unknowingly provided the defense with evidence and witnesses that could be used against her at trial to contradict her sworn testimony and gut her case.
The value of her case, of course, plummeted. It went from six-figures to she'd be lucky to get any settlement offer.
Make no mistake about it: insurance companies will do anything to defeat your claim and pay you as little as possible. Rather than pay you what your case is worth, they will spend their money paying people to comb the internet for anything that can be used against you.
Unlike my client's situation, postings on your Facebook page may not so blatantly impeach you. However, you need to know that anything you put up is potential ammunition for the insurance company.
Bottom Line: Take down any social networking pages you have until your personal injury case is resolved. Also tell friends not to tag you in any photos on their pages that could be used against you. We give these instructions to every client of our Los Angeles law firm.
If you've suffered a serious injury, call McGee, Lerer & Associates at (800) 999-9948. We are lawyers. We handle all types of injury claims, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, trip and falls, bicycle accidents, etc.