What’s the best way to handle a personal injury claim in the state of Florida? What can a personal injury victim say or do that helps – or hurts – when that victim seeks monetary compensation for his or her medical care, lost wages, and related expenses? Anyone can be injured by someone else’s negligence, so keep reading, because it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t do when you pursue compensation after sustaining a personal injury.
Social media and the internet continue to play an increasingly important role in most people’s lives. If you are considering moving forward with any personal injury claim, or if you are already seeking compensation, you must understand that nothing posted on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else online is ever genuinely “private.”
Photos, videos, and comments posted by a plaintiff in a personal injury case can be – and in fact, have been – used to deny compensation to some plaintiffs. Most personal injury attorneys would advise their clients simply to avoid posting anything online – anything at all – until the personal injury matter is entirely resolved.
HOW IS SOCIAL MEDIA NOW IMPACTING PERSONAL INJURY CASES?
Nevertheless, in a growing number of personal injury cases, what plaintiffs say and do online is having an impact. Let’s say that someone slips and falls on a wet floor in a supermarket, claims to be paralyzed, and sues the supermarket. The supermarket’s attorneys will try to find any evidence indicating that the plaintiff isn’t really paralyzed and that the claim is fabricated.
If those attorneys find “tweets” or posts about a plaintiff’s recreational activities, and especially if they find pictures of someone claiming to be paralyzed behaving in a clearly un-paralyzed way, that claim will fail. That’s an extreme example, but if you really are injured and you really are entitled to compensation, until your case has concluded, it’s still wise to be cautious about what you post or tweet.
The goal of a personal injury lawsuit is the recovery of compensation because of an injury that another person caused through negligence. The negligent person’s attorney will look for any evidence that proves the victim has not been injured or is exaggerating the extent of the injuries to obtain undeserved compensation.
HOW WERE THESE INVESTIGATIONS CONDUCTED BEFORE THE INTERNET?
Before the emergence of the internet, when defense attorneys and insurance companies in personal injury cases wanted to determine if a plaintiff was exaggerating or fabricating an injury, the attorneys and insurance companies hired a private investigator to follow, record, and take photos of the plaintiff.
They sometimes still do that, but today, attorneys and insurance companies also scrutinize a plaintiff’s tweets, posts, and other online activities. They may also interrogate a plaintiff’s employer, colleagues, neighbors, and friends. The goal is to find behavior that contradicts a plaintiff’s personal injury claim and proves that it’s false or exaggerated.
If you are injured by another person’s negligence in the state of Florida, the best thing you can to do regarding social media is to avoid it until your compensation is in your hands. Even a simple tweet about trimming the hedge could be considered evidence to refute a personal injury claim about a spinal cord injury, for example.
HOW CAN “POSITIVE” POSTS AND TWEETS HURT A PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
Personal injury cases often involve more than physical injuries. Plaintiffs frequently also claim emotional pain and suffering, but a social media post might be used against a plaintiff to dispute such a claim. Why? Because many share only the positive aspects of their lives on social media – to avoid “bringing down” their friends – but positive posts and tweets might cause judges and juries to believe that a plaintiff is exaggerating a pain-and-suffering claim.
If you are injured and you become the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you should also understand that making negative or derogatory posts about the defendant in the case will probably backfire against you. Negative comments can be used to characterize you as bitter or grudgeful. There is probably nothing that you can post online that will genuinely help your case.
WHAT OTHER KINDS OF CASES ARE BEING IMPACTED BY THE INTERNET?
Personal injury cases are far from the only legal cases being impacted today by the internet and social media. Divorce attorneys and criminal prosecutors are also scrutinizing the internet for any trace of evidence that can help them.
If you are suing for personal injuries or considering a lawsuit, and you just cannot stay away from the internet, at least adhere to these suggestions:
– Post nothing about your accident. injury, claim, or lawsuit while the case is pending.
– Post nothing about your physical activities – even your routine housework.
– Accept no friend request from anyone you don’t know.
– Use the most restrictive privacy safeguards.
If you are seeking compensation with a personal injury lawsuit and you have any concerns about posting a particular picture or comment online, ask yourself this question: Would you want the defendant in the case, the defendant’s attorney, the judge, or a panel of jurors to see it during a personal injury trial? If the answer is no, don’t post the picture or comment.
CAN YOU KEEP ONLINE POSTS PRIVATE – OR SIMPLY DELETE THEM?
You should also know that some courts in some states have given defense attorneys in personal injury cases complete access to a plaintiff’s ostensibly private and deleted Facebook posts. It cannot be emphasized enough that – legally speaking – nothing you post online is ever really private. Along the same line, nothing you delete is ever really literally and completely deleted. Almost everything that’s been posted online is either recoverable or is already stored somewhere.
If you’re injured in the Tampa Bay area in an accident that’s someone else’s fault – an auto crash, a work-related injury, or any other kind of accident in the Palm Harbor area – speak at once with an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney. If you file a personal injury claim, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf to reach a settlement, and if no settlement is possible, your attorney may recommend taking the case to trial.
Your attorney will then craft an effective trial strategy, gather evidence and testimony, and advocate aggressively in court for the justice – as well as the compensation – that you need and deserve. Your personal injury lawyer may also recommend that you maintain a low profile online – or no profile – until your case has been resolved.
Nothing is more important than your health and your future. If you are injured by another person’s negligence in the Tampa Bay area or anywhere else in Florida, contact a Tampa personal injury attorney immediately – and get the experienced legal help that you are very much going to need.