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Car Accidents Claim Lawyers and Social Media

 

When car accidents claim lawyers advise clients about their options, they consider many factors, such as:

 

·       the severity of the injuries suffered

·       whether or not the client has lost significant income

·       whether or not the client will be able to return to his/her work

·       the impact of the client’s injuries on family members

·       who had responsibility for the accident

·       impact on the client’s quality of life

 

In decades past, if a client brought a lawsuit due to personal injury, the evidence considered mainly involved medical records and testimony. However, with the current popularity of social media, there is a new source of evidence: your Facebook posts now have the power to be a deciding factor.

 

Social Media Evidence

 

An article in the National Post outlines the story of Sarah Tambosso, a BC woman who after having been involved in two car accidents, brought a lawsuit. The Squamish native told her medical personnel and her legal counsel, "My life sucks”.  She claimed to suffer from PTSD, and testified that her life had devolved into one where she rarely left the house and had few friends.

 

However, after looking at Tambosso’s posts on social media, the judge concluded that her claims were not credible. Nearly 200 posts from Facebook were entered into evidence, and they showed the plaintiff in many social settings, including drinking with friends, river tubing with another group of friends, attending costume parties, and performing at a karaoke competition. The judge felt that this evidence was "completely inconsistent” with someone suffering from psychological trauma.

 

Today’s car accidents claim lawyers are routinely warning their clients to be very careful about what they post to social media. It’s obvious that the defence in any case will be hard at work looking for evidence that contradicts the accident victim’s claims. Since most of us like to post only the best side of our lives in this public arena, the defence often finds what it’s looking for.

 

But is it fair to use happy snapshots on Facebook as proof of a plaintiff’s mental state? Many people curate their social media profiles to create a picture of perfection: special occasions, smiling selfies, adorable children, flowers, and delicious meals. The pictures we post may not be an accurate reflection of what our lives are really like. Are the injuries exaggerated, or is the happy media presence what has been inflated? Judges come down on different sides of this question.

 

Getting the Whole Picture

 

When you bring a lawsuit, you must be prepared to offer up your medical and employment records as evidence. Now with social media so present in today’s society, you must also be ready to explain photos found on social media, and to justify what the defence may find in cyberspace. If you state that you are unable to walk to the end of the block, for instance, don’t post video of yourself winning a triathlon.

 

Car accident claim lawyers sometimes caution their clients to post carefully; other times lawyers ask clients to refrain entirely from using social media. Increasingly, social media is becoming a record that can be used in a legal setting.