Social Networking and Litigation a Bad Mix

If at the time you suffer an injury you have a public social networking account such as FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Google Buzz, etc., you may want to consider closing or making private your account until your injury case is completed. Having an active social networking account can complicate a lawsuit. Whatever you publically write or post could potentially be used to undermine your case. The best way to ensure these sites will not be harmful to your case is to refrain from using these sites altogether until your claim has been resolved, or at the earliest opportunity, verify that all your settings are on PRIVATE (the highest setting possible) and that nothing is public. Even with the highest privacy settings, we would suggest that you not write or post photos or information that someone could use to embarrass you in court, since some portion of every social networking site may remain open to the public no matter what privacy settings you apply to the site. We suggest further that you carefully consider removing any content from your site that you would not want to become part of your lawsuit, such as pictures or personal information. Something as innocuous as you holding a glass to offer a toast at a party could be used to suggest that you are an excessive drinker. Further, we recommend that you resist the temptation to make any status updates referencing your case or medical condition, and suggest that you request family and friends to refrain from the same. Be very cautious not to allow anyone to become a “friend” on a website like Facebook unless you are absolutely sure you know that person. Also, it makes good sense to refrain from participating in blogs, chat-rooms, or message boards. In short, refrain from writing or disclosing anything about your personal life that you would be embarrassed to have placed in front of a judge and jury. Limiting your social networking activities may be an inconvenience. Not doing so might cause harm to your case.


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