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Activity Trackers And Your Personal Injury Claim

As you may realize by now, what you choose to show on social media can have a significant impact on your possible legal claim.  In some cases, social media posts can be used as evidence during your lawsuit, especially in the case of personal injury.  You may be familiar with the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but how about other tools such as activity trackers?  According to a recent article, fitness tracker information may also impact your social media claim.  For example, if you claim that an injury made you immobile, yet your activity tracker reflects that you run five miles a day, it does not add up.  In the future, it is possible that your data from any activity trackers may also be used in the course of a personal injury case.  As always, it is important to be truthful when reporting the extent and longevity of your personal injury following an accident or other traumatic event.

Social Media In The Office

Ever wonder how different employers regulate the use of social media? The Huffington Post released an interesting article that, although a few years old, covered some interesting trends that arose in social media use in the office.  Some of the more interesting points include the following:

Facebook Undermines PA Woman's Personal Injury Lawsuit

Sometimes, what you post on social media can really influence the validity of your legal claim.  Recently, a Pennsylvania woman discovered this fact when she went to pursue a lawsuit against doctors whom she felt misdiagnosed her.  According to the report, published by McCall.com, the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently ruled that the woman failed to sue doctors within the two-year statute of limitations for such cases.  The woman's original argument was that physicians misdiagnosed her Lyme disease as multiple sclerosis. 

Facebook May Impact Your Legal Claim

In recent years, Facebook and other social media sites are changing the ways that laws are interpreted and executed in terms of evidence and discovery.  Information from Facebook and other social media sites is becoming increasingly popular to use in the "discovery" aspect of personal injury litigation.  In recent years, several cases involving personal injury claims and social media have set the precedent for the admittance of social media into the courtroom for years to come.  

NPR Discusses Social Media and Class Action Lawsuits

Once again, the National Public Radio is weighing in on a relevant topic to today's blog topic.  Social media and its use for legal claims has been an area of hot debate in recent years.  Can private social media posts be used as courtroom evidence?  How do you control jurors and judges who may tweet or Facebook post about a current case? Interestingly, some lawyers are also attempting to use social media to reach large masses of people for class-action lawsuits.  Read about this new phenomenon by clicking the link to the original NPR article, which can be found here.

Beware! Social Media Can Come Out To Haunt You

According to an article by the Rockland County Times, Facebook and other social media sites are changing the ways that laws are interpreted and executed in terms of evidence and discovery. The article cited a particular example that outlined the following:

Social Media is Fair Game in Legal Cases

In recent years, legal guidelines have not been updated to reflect the changes made in technology, such as social media sites.  Social media sites include popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Google+.  Social media sites, in addition to being a way to keep in contact with friends and family, are also a way for lawyers to gather information about personal injury claims.
For those people who are pursuing a personal injury claim, it is becoming increasingly common for the defense to request the plaintiff's social media usernames and passwords.  Even if the plaintiff refuses, a court order might force them to turn over their log-in information.  With this knowledge, the defense can access your pictures, posts, friend activity, etc. to compile information about you that might be used in court.  This may range from social habits, physical activity, and any travel the plaintiff might have done.  Although this might not seem relevant, the information gathered may be used to argue that a person is more physically able than they let on (such as in the case of a personal injury claim) or that they might not be reliable (such as evidence of heavy drinking habits or illegal drug use).  For this reason, along with many others, it is important to monitor your Facebook profile and really think before you post anything.   Although you might have your privacy settings activated, they are not as effective as you might think and does not give you license to post anything you wish.  Additionally, if you are not really injured or not as extensively injured as you let on, you should not be pursuing a personal injury claim in that line.  A good rule of thumb is to remember that everything you post online could potentially be public information, so monitor your internet usage accordingly.
Information from Facebook and other social media sites is becoming increasingly popular to use in the "discovery" aspect of personal injury litigation.  In recent years, several cases involving personal injury claims and social media have set the precedent for the admittance of social media into the courtroom for years to come.  One of these cases involved an employee of Weis Supermarkets suing the company because he claimed to have suffered an injury to his knee while working.  Although he did require surgery to correct his knee, he claimed that he could not participate in physical activity and never wore shorts because he was embarrassed by his surgical scar.  Discovery material provided from Facebook resulted in pictures of the employee engaging in intense physical activity, as well as wearing shorts that plainly showed his surgical scar.  Because the bulk of his case rested upon his inability to take part in the physical activities he had previously enjoyed, his case did not have much merit once the Facebook pictures were admitted as evidence.
This is just one of may cases in which social media had a negative impact on a client's personal injury claim.  If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you should be careful about what you choose to post on social media sites.  Even if you are significantly injured, defense attorneys might try to twist what you write or update to compile a case against you. One picture, taken out of context, may cost you a significant amount of money in a personal injury case. 
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania. For more information on his firm or to schedule a free initial consultation, please call his firm at 814-946-4100.

New Social Media Case Law May Influence Your Legal Claim

In case you were not aware, please know that anything you post on social media may be admissible in court.  According to a recent technology-focused website, there have been two recent court cases in the United States that have changed the way that we may use social media as court evidence in the future.  One such case in Florida, Nucci vs. Target Corp., found that social media posts and photographs are considered relevant and admissible evidence.  Another case in Louisiana, Crowe vs. Marquette Transportation Co. Gulf-Inland LCC, stated that "Crowe's efforts to avoid producing this material (his Facebook page) have unnecessarily delayed these proceedings and have wasted the time of his opponent and this Court.".    Both cases involved personal injury litigation.  

Social Media May Influence Your Personal Injury Claim

According to an article by the Rockland County Times, Facebook and other social media sites are changing the ways that laws are interpreted and executed in terms of evidence and discovery. The article cited a particular example that outlined the following:
"In another local case, a Westchester County jury dismissed a man's personal injury case when it was discovered that he lied during his testimony regarding his injuries. During examination, the man testified that a slip and fall from a loading dock caused extensive back injuries that prevented him from engaging in many physical activities. However, when defense lawyers introduced the man's Facebook page, a different story emerged.
The man had posted pictures of himself playing basketball, water skiing on vacation and even hauling heavy lumber used to rebuild the deck on his house, all while he claimed to be injured (and he didn't have a permit to build the deck). It took the jury only 30 minutes to reach its verdict, denying the man's claim in its entirety."
In the wake of social media being used as evidence in court cases, some experts anticipate a few issues will start to creep up in national news.  One of the most pressing is publicity rights as they relate to social media.  When a person posts information and pictures, it may or may not be considered allowable for companies to use the information commercially without written consent.  This issue has not formally been decided, but will play a huge role in how internet advertisers create ads in the future.  Additionally, the concept of who actually owns a Twitter account is another hot-button issue. If a company uses a Twitter account for marketing and branding, does the employer or the employee own the account?  This becomes an issue if the employee chooses to leave the company and may request to take his/her account and followers somewhere else.  
Interestingly, the Rockland County Times article also mentioned that National Labor Relations Board is currently trying to enact guidelines on to protect employee activities on social media sites. Last year alone, the NLRB was involved in many court cases based on employer-employee conflict regarding social media posts.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney serving western and central Pennsylvania. Please contact his law firm at 814-946-4100 with questions regarding your personal injury claim. 

Social Media Changing The Way Lawyers Prosecute

According to an article by the Rockland County Times, Facebook and other social media sites are changing the ways that laws are interpreted and executed in terms of evidence and discovery. The article cited a particular example that outlined the following:

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