Social media was once dominated by teens and college students. Not anymore: today, Canadians of all ages and backgrounds, from Newfoundland to British Columbia to Nunavut, tend to post, like, and comment on a daily basis. Nearly three quarters of Canadians (74 per cent) spend at least 3-4 hours online per day, according to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), and more than 60 per cent engage on social media. The social internet’s growing role in our lives has implications for everyone, including personal injury lawyers and plaintiffs seeking compensation.
How can Social Media Hurt My Personal Injury Claim?
Plaintiffs seek compensation in personal injury lawsuits when their life has been significantly disrupted. Serious physical injuries – brain injuries, spinal injuries, chronic pain, etc. – are common in these claims. In order to prove that their client has been injured, personal injury lawyers turn to testimony from expert medical witnesses, friends, family members, and other sources.
The compensation that a plaintiff receives depends on the extent of their injuries. Larger settlements are reserved for injury victims whose lives have been most seriously altered, including individuals who are no longer able to earn a living, or who will require constant medical care. Less serious injuries tend to result in lower compensation.
When a social media post contradicts a plaintiff’s claims, the judge, mediator, or arbitrator may choose to reduce compensation. Defence lawyers often scour plaintiffs’ social media posts in search of evidence to refute their claims. For example: if a plaintiff alleges that her injuries prevent her from socializing, but a Facebook post emerges showing her at a restaurant or bar with friends, the validity of her claim will be thrown into question.
How to Prevent Social Media Hurting My Claim
The best way to avoid hurting your personal injury claim through social media is to stay away from the platforms altogether. Delete your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat accounts for the duration of your case.
This is a drastic step, of course, especially considering that many personal injury lawsuits drag on for years. The more reasonable solution is to set all your accounts to private mode and consider very carefully what content you share. Discuss with your personal injury lawyer what sort of posts are safe and which could put you in trouble.
Contact Will Davidson LLP
If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident, contact Will Davidson LLP’s team of Oakville personal injury lawyers to learn how we can help.