Posting or sharing something on social media is second nature to most people, so much so that you might not think twice about updating your status, sending a message, or posting a video, but maybe you should – especially if you are making a personal injury claim.
How social media can hurt your case
Let’s say that you are making a personal injury claim that suggests you are suffering from loss of enjoyment of life (a relatively common claim in personal injury cases), but you post a photo of yourself laughing and having fun on social media. That photo can be used against you in court – and it might even be enough to sink your case.
Or, maybe you were a carpenter but you hurt your back and want to make a claim for loss of income, but your friend posts a video of you doing the limbo on vacation – again, that could destroy your claim.
Social media can be used in court
According to the Rules of Civil Procedure under Rule 30.01(a) “document” is defined to include “data and information in electronic form.” That is lawyer-speak for, “anything you post on social media can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
Since things you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other similar social media channel are potentially relevant to your case they can be requested in “discovery” (part of the pre-trial procedure in which both sides reveal and request their evidence) and used against you.
In order to request information on your social media pages, the other party must establish that there is relevant content on your social media account, as per Schuster v Royal & Sunlife Alliance Insurance Co. of Canada, 2012 ONSC 1733. But since most people don’t have strict privacy controls all it takes to determine if such content exists is a quick search on a search engine. Even if your account privacy settings are high, you are still at risk if you post anything that suggests you are not as affected by your injury as you originally claimed.
Social media surveillance
Social media has proven such a dominant hunting ground for insurance companies that many now employ people to view public social media accounts of people they suspect may be filing a fake claim.
A picture isn’t always worth a thousand words
People often present an idealised version of their lives on social media, making themselves look fitter, healthier, happier, more popular, and in some cases, the court may recognize this reality.
For instance, in D(J) v Chandra, 2014 BCSC 466, the court stated “a snapshot does not show anything but a moment in time, and does not disprove that the Plaintiff also had … declined to participate in activities or felt significant pain after trying to engage in the activities.”
Social Media & Personal Injury Lawyers
D(J) v Chandra provides some of the legal precedent needed to fight back against social media material being used against you, but you still need a professional lawyer to fight on your behalf. If you are concerned that social media could be used against your personal injury claim, contact Zayouna Law Firm. Call us at (416)-622-0003 for a free consultation!