But for all the good that social media can bring, there’s also a risk to social media. For more sensitive people, social media can simply be another avenue for cyberbullying, where the people causing pain and humiliation no longer even have to be in the same room. But for others, social media presents a far greater, more tangible threat, especially in the legal world of civil lawsuits. Social media can be evidence that can be used against a person.
The Online World Is Still Public
Despite having had years of experience with social media, and the fact that people often use social media in order disseminate news and information, many people often make a fundamental error in perception about social media. They believe that despite the fact they are publicly broadcasting information that anyone can freely look up, that information, somehow, is private. It’s like social media is the digital equivalent of Las Vegas, with the old adage “Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” and the same is true of statements, videos and other information posted to social media. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
This is one of the reasons why, for example, younger people who have graduated from college and are looking for a job need to be careful with what they post on their social media accounts. Depending on the type of job applied for, such as at a prestigious company with a lot of benefits, there’s every chance that potential candidates will, in addition to having their resume scrutinized, be looked up on social media. If there’s any compromising material there, such as demeaning comments to women, racist remarks, or questionable activities that may be breaking the law, that can result in an automatic rejection of an otherwise qualified employee.
The same applies in situations like a lawsuit. If you are involved in a car accident, or you are trying to get the workers compensation you feel you deserve, your social media account is accessible to all. This means that suspicious insurance investigator, and other claims officers will be trying to decide whether your injury is legitimate, and they will be looking to your social media to see if they can get some kind of confirmation.
How It Can Hurt
Social media can be particularly devastating to a lawsuit if you haven’t been completely honest with your personal injury lawyer. For example, if you were involved in a car crash, and you claimed that it was a case of poor judgement or driver error, and not distracted driving, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise if you were lying. Making a post on Twitter while driving, for example, may lead you to believe that all you have to do to get rid of the evidence is delete the post you made.
However, Twitter keeps records of all the data that comes in and is erased. So even if you claimed that you were not using social media while driving, an investigation into Twitter’s servers can easily provide proof that not only were you using your social media account at the time you were driving, but you then attempted to erase the data cover up your offense.
In other personal injury cases, some clients have been very foolish in their usage of social media. There are many cases in America and other countries of people pursuing a personal injury case, claiming the extent of their injuries are so severe they require substantial compensation. However, these same people then go on to make posts on Facebook and Twitter, boasting or announcing their participation in athletic activities that shouldn’t be possible for someone as seriously injured as they claimed.
Be Mindful Of Your Usage
If you are honest in your dealings with your personal injury or workers comp lawyer, then the law will be on your side, and you will get what you deserve. But if you have anything on your social media that runs counter to the case you are making, that social media can put your case at risk. Just because the information you put online is digital and can’t be held in your hand, doesn’t mean that it can’t be used as evidence for or against you.