Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney
Social Media and Lawsuits Today
Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr works to protect the rights of his clients and their families throughout the litigation process. Recently, one of the ways that defense lawyers have tried to disprove or undervalue personal injury claims is through looking at a plaintiff's social media pages. Sometimes, courts will allow a defense lawyer access to a plaintiff's social media websites, even if their settings are set to private or their online profiles are limited from the public eye. They then use the information you've posted (photographs, status updates, comments on your own or other's profile) to diminish the severity of your injury and, in some cases, may attempt to use pictures to discredit you in general.
What Is Social Media/Social Networking?
Attorney Doug Stoehr recognizes that many websites on the Internet can be considered social media. However, some of the top and most frequently used social media sites are:
All of these sites have in common the fact that they rely on interaction between people through pictures, text, and links to other websites. Often, people use these sites to interact and connect with friends and family and keep them updated on their personal lives.
How You Can Protect Yourself
If you are considering pursuing a legal claim, are in the process of a legal claim, or are just a frequent user of social media, there are several things you can do to protect yourself online.
First of all, keep your profiles clean of questionable photographs and mentions of questionable or illegal activity. Also, do not post anything that you would not want the world knowing about; it is not uncommon for employers to investigate a person's social media sites before making a hiring decision. Also, be aware that people may take some comments or pictures out of context. For example, even though you might be suffering from a serious medical condition, a one-time picture of you taking a hike outside for a few minutes may make others believe that you are not as seriously ill or injured as you actually are.
Additionally, be aware that others may be able to view more of your online activity than you make actually realize. Be careful to set all your profiles to "private" or "friends only" to avoid strangers viewing your activity and knowing your whereabouts. There have been many instances of families being robbed while they are out of town because their social media site had a post by them saying "on vacation" or "here are pictures of my trip". The same is also true for new, expensive items that you talk about on your profile.
You have a right to express yourself and interact with others online, but you should be responsible and careful about what you say online and the image that you might be projecting to other people. Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr understands this, and urges you to be aware and cognizant of your online activities.
If you would like more information about this page or Attorney Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100. Home and hospital visits can be arranged. Evening and weekend hours are available for your convenience.