Just about everyone I know and most of our clients that we represent are on social media. People feel compelled to post, tweet and snap their daily activities to friends and strangers. In fact, a recent report in the New York Times found that — an estimated 81 percent of Americans have a social media account.
But did you know that when you make a claim for a slip and fall, trip and fall, medical malpractice or an injury on a cruise– the defendants, their insurance companies and their lawyers are checking you out too?
In fact, it is very common for our personal injury lawyers in Miami to receive formal requests for our client’s social media accounts. And I know for a fact that many of the cruise lines I sue monitor my personal feeds closely.
And while social media is a powerful tool for those looking to expand their network, build a business, enhance a brand or find a new gig they can be devastating to ones personal injury case.
Here is why:
Social media platforms constantly change and update their privacy settings. It is not uncommon for people to unknowingly believe their accounts are private- but are in fact open to the public. Further, if one were to post a picture or video of let’s say- rollerblading in the park on a Sunday while smoking a cigar- a “friend” or other can repost that content on other platforms- thereby taking private content public and perhaps viral.
Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with being able to rollerblade and smoke a cigar- it only becomes a problem if and when a claimant claims they cannot and evidence surfaces that they were not truthful in their testimony or in their conversations with their healthcare providers.
The bigger issue arises when ambiguous pictures surface. For example, we have represented passengers who are seriously injured on their cruises– suffering broken bones and worse. But then they pose for a picture at the Captain’s Table, smiling or on an excursion trying not to ruin the trip for the rest of the family. They then are forced to explain that while smiling and holding up the conch shell to their ear they were really miserable and in pain. It just complicates things.
The litigation process can be very stressful, aggravating and disappointing- but sharing these feelings online can be used against the later on- and prove embarrassing in court.
Lastly, most every settlement with cruise lines, in particular, are confidential. They simply do not want other passengers, other lawyers and other cruise lines to hear how much they pay to settle cases. The worse thing that a plaintiff in a personal injury case can do is to post confidential settlement information on social media. And this goes to friends and family members too. Simply mentioning the amount of your settlement to your teenaged daughter who might than proudly post that you won your case against Carnival- might cost you not only the full amount of the settlement- but additional damages to Carnival and their lawyers.
Accordingly, we strongly urge our clients not to discuss their injuries, cases, and settlements online. If in doubt assume that whatever you say online will be seen by the judge, jury and defense counsel. Silence is a small price to pay to ensure that you have the best possible chances of recovering fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries.
If you have been involved in a car accident, slip, trip and fall accident, or have been injured while on a cruise– it is very important that you consult with an experienced personal injury law firm. Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has over 30 years of combined legal experience battling insurance companies and cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Princess, Holland America, Disney and MSC on behalf of the injured and their families.