Twittering One's Georgia Personal Injury Case Away: The Value of Privacy
With the overwhelming popularity of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, people may not realize that they are living their lives under extraordinary scrutiny. Privacy concerning one's daily activities has become largely a thing of the past for those who routinely use social networks.
Unfortunately, this drive to live one's life in the public eye can have a very negative impact on a Georgia personal injury claim, including all types of injury cases, such as:
- Auto Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Trucking Accidents
- ATV Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Railroad Accidents
- Aviation Accidents
- Wrongful Death Claims
- Premises Liability Accidents
- Workers' Compensation/Job Injuries
This may only be a small list of examples of Georgia personal injury cases that have been compromised by information made public on social networks. Insurance companies and their attorneys are increasingly searching the web for information that may help them avoid liability or reduce damage awards. Evidence from social networks can and does turn up in personal injury and worker compensation cases. Damaging information on a social network site regarding an accident or injuries may constitute an admission which may be used by the insurance company's lawyers. The insurance company attorneys may look at the social network site for theories of how the accident happened, or to contradict one's explanation for how one's injuries occurred.
Even information you post on your social network site that has nothing to do with a personal injury or vehicle accident case can have an adverse impact. The insurance company and their attorneys may even use information that will be misrepresented or taken out of context to make you look bad or compromise your claim. A prior tweet about how one's back has been aching may later be the basis for a defense incorrectly claiming a pre-existing back injury, making a claim for compensation for back injuries more difficult. Pictures posted showing a seriously injured person engaged in physical activity may be used to suggest that one's injuries are either fabricated or exaggerated. Sometimes the information on a social network may just be used to make someone who is injured seem less sympathetic or like a "bad person."
There are some precautions you can take to protect your privacy and avoid disclosure of damaging or embarrassing information. The best option is simply to disable all social network sites that you use if you are involved in a personal injury or serious accident case. If you are unwilling to go that far, you should be vigilant in reviewing the photos and posts on social networking sites. You should never discuss ANYTHING related to the accident or your injuries on a social network site. It is important to remove anything that could be used by insurance company lawyers to portray you in a negative light or incorrectly suggest that you have pre-existing conditions or injuries. Privacy settings should be activated which block those you don't know from seeing you on a social network, and you should routinely refuse friend requests from people you do not know.
People often have a hard time anticipating how posts or pictures on social networks may be misconstrued. A damaging post or picture may mean the difference between being compensated for one's injuries and not receiving adequate compensation. This is why it is best to remove social network sites immediately upon becoming involved in a personal injury, motor vehicle accident or worker's compensation case. If you are hesitant to take this step, you should seek the immediate advice of a personal injury attorney who can guide you on how to avoid having your case compromised by information on a social network.
At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, our Georgia personal injury attorneys have been helping those injured by the negligence of others in Atlanta and throughout the State of Georgia for over 35 years. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia including, but not limited to, Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller and rural towns in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com.