December 12, 2019
Pitts Carr and Alex Weatherby
Can Social Media Affect a Personal Injury Case?
It depends. If your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media account are public, then the opposing party may search it for information. In the event that the information that is publicly available is relevant to your case, then it can be used against you.
For example, in an Atlanta wrongful death case that we had, immediately upon contact from the client, we searched for the at-fault driver on social media.
We found a video of the driver drinking at a bar shortly before the accident occurred. The video showed the driver, the alcohol, and the time it was taken.
It was a “Facebook Live” video and said “[At-Fault Driver] was live” drinking moments before the accident.
This social media evidence changed the course of the wrongful death case.
It is routine at present for lawyers to search social media platforms for information on opposing parties that supports their case.
If you have posted something relevant to your case in a public forum, it is best to assume that the other side will see it.
A matter that may be considered relevant in a personal injury case would include: (a) pictures showing you post-accident performing physical activities; and, (b) comments, posts, and messages about the accident, the driver, or the physical condition of one of the parties. This is not an exhaustive list of course. Relevancy is a broad brush.
If your profile is set to “private,” courts differ on whether the information is discoverable and, if so, how much. The party seeking to discover the information in Georgia will need to demonstrate that the information sought is “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” A lot of factors go into play, so the best way to answer this question is to consult with an Atlanta tractor-trailer accident attorney or a catastrophic injury attorney.
We have handled numerous catastrophic injury cases and we offer free consultations. We practice all over Georgia.