Social media is everywhere. It’s become an important source of information in custody battles, personal injury cases, and even in job interviews. The truth is, it’s often the first place an accident lawyer looks for information to help them beat a personal injury claim. To better understand how social media can work against you, take a look at a few of the ways lawyers use social media in the courtroom:
1) Social media profiles - As soon as lawyers are aware of the court case and parties involved, they can start researching an individual’s Facebook profile, MySpace account, and their other social media involvement. As far as Facebook is concerned, lawyers can only view your information if they’re a friend of yours – unless your privacy settings allow a broader audience.
2) Screen names – Accident lawyers can also request information that will help them identify your online screen names for chat rooms, discussion forums, messenger programs, and more.
3) Blog entries – Any public blog posts are also searchable – and can be used as evidence.
4) Computer access – Normally, a court order or subpoena is required to access your personal computer. However, if the police have a probable cause, they can search your computer without either of these.
5) Consent forms & subpoenas – Some defense lawyers have begun asking the plaintiff to sign a consent form. They’ll add the consent form to a subpoena and send it to sites like Facebook and MySpace, requesting private information. However, the Federal Stored Communications Act generally governs posts on social networks – meaning sites aren’t always required to fork over personal information when subpoenaed.
The simplest answer is to stop all forms of social media interactions entirely... But we know that’s not always possible, and you may not be able to unplug from social media without losing touch with friends and loved ones. Keep this list handy - read an accident injury blog, and don't lose what you justly deserve due to a simple mistake!