Can the insurance company use my social media posts in court?
Posting to social media has become a part of our daily lives for many of us. Updating your Facebook status or tweeting about your car accident and injuries may seem harmless, but it can have serious implications for your Los Angeles car accident claim. Courts in several jurisdictions have held that information posted online is discoverable by the insurance company. Seemingly innocent posts have been the reason for denial or minimization of some car accident cases in recent years.
The Discoverability of Social Media Posts
If you are like most Americans, you probably use social media as a way to connect with family and friends. You may not be concerned with what you post because you limit the number of people that can see your posts with strict privacy settings. However, when it comes to legal proceedings, privacy settings may not be enough.
Every time you post on social media, no matter your privacy settings, that information is recorded and stored somewhere, even if you attempt to delete it. Insurance company employees are trained to search for the social media accounts of claimants in order to uncover potentially damaging information. One of the most famous cases to use social media evidence is that of criminal defendant Casey Anthony. In her highly publicized criminal trial, the prosecution presented damaging posts by Ms. Anthony showing her partying around the time of her daughter’s death.
Even information that you post but protect from the reach of the insurance company can be made public by court order. In a Pennsylvania car accident case, the defendant moved for the plaintiff to release Facebook data showing her exercising at the gym, despite claims of ongoing pain and disability. The information, according to the plaintiff, was protected by Facebook privacy settings. The court ordered the plaintiff provide access to her Facebook account, finding that the material within it was not covered by any privilege and was relevant.
Car accident victims are cautioned to refrain from posting information that could be considered relevant to the accident. Accident victims should assume that anything they post might be found by the defendant, so it is best to forego posts or strictly limit what information you put on the web.