WLF Wrongful Death Lawyers Suggests
These days, people post everything they do on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While it is fun to share photos, activities, plans, ideas and thoughts with real and online friends, you may not have given due consideration to the fact that they can land you in big trouble. If you are pursuing a wrongful death claim, then your social media activities may even ruin your chances of success.
Social Media Posts Can Be Used as Evidence
You and your friends are not the only ones who use social media. Everyone uses them these days, including law enforcement agencies, businesses, insurance companies and the courts. The contents of your social media pages can be used as evidence in the court of law and usually against you, as any wrongful death lawyer will tell you.
Social media can impact your wrongful death claim primarily for two reasons:
- They are discoverable: Whatever you post on your social media page is discoverable, which means everything you post on your social media pages can be collected and used as evidence by the opposing party in the court of law. If there is a video that shows you happily playing golf with your friends on the day after your wife’s death, then it may be used to show that you were not a grieving husband.
- They can be misconstrued: Whatever you post on your social media page case can be misconstrued, which means the opposing party can twist the meaning of your post to suit their own purpose. If there is a photo of you enjoying a coffee break with an attractive co-worker dated a month before your spouse’s death, then it may be used to suggest that you were having an affair when he or she died.
Posts that May Affect Your Wrongful Death Claim
Any kind of posts on your social media page can be used to cast doubt on your version of the story in a lawsuit. But there are basically two types of posts that can ruin your wrongful death claim:
- Photos, videos or status updates that contradict what you have stated in your claim: For example, a video on your Facebook page that shows you dancing happily at a friend’s wedding party just a few day after the death your spouse while you have claimed that his or her death has left you completely devastated.
- Photos, videos or status updates that show you admitting liability (whether deliberately or inadvertently) or wondering whether you were fully or partially to blame for the death: For example, a Facebook status update that says, “Whatever the circumstances leading to my dear wife’s death, my conscience says that I am partially to blame for the accident.”
While some courts may find status updates (written posts) inadmissible, such as the one given in the example above example, it would be difficult for even the best wrongful death lawyer to dispute the hard evidence provided by photos and videos.
How to Protect Yourself on Social Media
When your wrongful death claim is underway, you should take extra precaution to ensure that your social media activities will not affect it negatively. Remember that once you post anything, it may be copied and shared by others and thus may remain in the internet even if you delete it from your own page. Here are some suggestions:
- Do not post anything related to your wrongful death claim, such as comments about the accident, financial details of the claim, and negative comments about the defendant.
- If your social media setting is ‘Public’, change it to ‘Private’.
- Disallow yourself to be tagged in photos, videos and comments posted by other people.
- Block applications that automatically share the information posted in social media.
- If you want to be extra cautious, then deactivate your social media accounts and don’t reactive them until the conclusion of your case.
The bottom line is that you must exercise extreme caution when using your social media; not only when you have a wrongful death claim going on, but at all times. Talk to an experienced wrongful death lawyer for more information about this important issue and more.