Social media has become such an integrated part of our everyday lives, it’s hard to believe it Facebook first launched in 2004, becoming open to the general public in 2006. Today it has 1.3 billion users. Twitter, which also launched in 2006, has more than 100 million users who post 350 million tweets daily. Instagram, used by 500 million people, didn’t get its start until late 2010.
For many, it’s second nature to share random thoughts, photos, songs and more. We get into heated online debates and there are hundreds of thousands of “groups” to connect with those who share our interests. All of this can seem pretty benign. However, it has come to matter a great deal in our justice system. Specifically with regard to Florida personal injury lawsuits, you should know that anything you post – even if self-destructing or deleted – may come up in your case. Forensic investigators can usually recover transient data and use it in later court proceedings, sometimes becoming critical pieces of evidence in proving or disproving some material issue.
Although it might seem harmless to engage on these platforms, you must be careful not to post anything you wouldn’t want displayed and analyzed in a courtroom. Defendants in personal injury cases can use it not only to challenge the actual facts of the incident (if you post or share anything that runs counter to your previous testimony), they may argue your damages aren’t as significant as you allege. For example, if you’re seeking substantial damages for pain and suffering, but your social media pages are peppered with happy, smiling, action-shot photos, this could be used to show you aren’t actually suffering as much as you say. This is regardless of the fact that, of course, we all present our best selves on these platforms. Continue reading