Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Facebook Problem

Currently, there are over 500 million active Facebook accounts across the globe. Of the 206 million people in the United States who use the internet, it is estimated that over 71 percent of them are using Facebook. What you may not know, though, is that if you are an active Facebook user and have recently filed a personal injury lawsuit, you could end up jeopardizing your claim. You can be sure that the opposing attorneys will do everything they can to minimize your claim or refute it entirely, and they sometimes find a treasure trove of information on social media sites like Facebook to make their job easier. For example, if you are claiming an injury in your lawsuit that hinders your ability to move around or perform daily tasks, it’s probably not a good idea to post photos on your page of you playing football or dancing at a club after the date your accident occurred. Your Facebook friend list presents another golden opportunity for investigators as it can help them stumble upon damaging information about you that was posted by your buddies on their pages. Many people mistakenly believe that privacy settings on Facebook will prohibit opposing attorneys from accessing their pages, but the defense can ask the judge to required written authorization from you for access to your Facebook account. Even if that request is denied and your privacy settings only allow your Facebook friends to see your page, you still may run into problems. A creative investigator for the opposing counsel could trick you into being “friends”, leaving your Facebook account open to scrutiny. For plaintiffs in the midst of a personal injury lawsuit, it is highly recommended that using Facebook be strictly avoided until after the case is over.

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