Social media evidence is now commonly used in personal injury cases, with defendants and insurance companies increasing their monitoring of plaintiff accounts. As a lawyer, you need to know what your clients post to their profiles because what may seem like a harmless post can have dire consequences on your file.
There are several examples of courts in the U.S. and Canada allowing social media posts to be admitted as evidence in personal injury cases. In some cases, these posts have had a direct impact on the outcome of the settlement value.
In Sedie v. US, a California personal injury case, social media evidence in conjunction with medical evidence was used to discredit the severity of the plaintiff’s injury. This led to the court concluding that the damages sought by the plaintiff were inflated.
In an Ontario personal injury case, Moretto v Nicolini-Femia, social media evidence was used to reduce the plaintiff’s damages in the assessment of her general damages.
You can read more case law on social media evidence in personal injury cases in the U.S. and Canada here.
The examples above demonstrate the role social media evidence can play in helping insurance companies discover or discredit a plaintiff’s claim about the extent of their injuries.
Clients suffering from injury or disability generally post positive content on their profiles that are only snapshots in time. This content rarely reflects the severity of a person’s pain and suffering. If lawyers are aware of what their clients are posting, during proceedings, they will be able to provide context so evidence can be based on the entirety of the facts and not simply on a single social media post.
Benefits of Monitoring Client Social Media
Increase Value of Files: Building a social media report that paints a picture of your clients’ life before and after their injury or disability can be instrumental in maximizing the value of their claim.
Avoid Bad Clients: You can use social media to determine if a prospective client is telling you the entire story and if they are indeed a file you want to invest in.
Reduce Client Risk: Social media is a rare outlet for clients that are suffering from an injury or illness. However, their posts may be misrepresented in court. Our team’s experience is that once clients become aware that their social media accounts are being monitored, we have noticed an immediate and significant decrease in their social media activity.
How Can Lawyers Monitor Client Social Media?
With more case law emerging that confirms the detrimental effect of social media usage on clients’ settlement values, lawyers can no longer ignore their clients’ activity.
Instead of spending several hours every week manually going through clients’ social media accounts to generate reports, lawyers and paralegals can now rely upon sophisticated tools that save time and increase the value of their files.
At Foisy and Associates, we use Private Footprint. This powerful tool allows our lawyers and paralegals to quickly view, organize, and make sense of the overwhelming volume of social media content generated by clients. Our team easily monitors social media activity for each client separately, flag specific posts, and quickly generate detailed reports that document the lives of our clients before and after life-altering events such as a personal injury or disability.
If you have sustained a personal injury or disability, please contact Foisy and Associates for a free consultation.