Facebook currently has over 350 million users, making it the most popular social networking site in the world. It has allowed millions of people to reconnect after many years and provides a means of making new friends. However, for those involved in a personal injury case, your facebook postings could damage or completely destroy your case.
At Stark & Stark we warn our clients that if they are a member of Facebook, MySpace, or any other social networking website, then they need to be careful about what they post. You never know who may be reading your posts. We know that some insurance companies, defense attorneys and private investigators are trying to view your Facebook accounts.
If there are recent photos of you posted by your friends, they can be viewed by people outside your network of “friends”, despite your privacy settings.
Postings from Facebook have been admitted in courts and have been used by police, investigators and media. In fact, firms representing the insurance company can have their lawyers and clerks search Facebook for the injured party’s pages, profiles and pictures. THIS HAPPENS!
The Internet and social networking sites have changed the face of litigation in this country. However, there are some precautions that you can take to protect yourself, short of boycotting the Internet all together. First, be careful in reviewing the photos and posts on your social networking site. Remove anything that you would not want an insurance company lawyer to see that could help them defend against your case. Next, check your privacy settings which enable you to block certain people from seeing you on a particular site (Facebook allows this). It is also helpful to search your name in the search field and see what comes up to make sure it is acceptable (it is advisable to do this on Google and YouTube as well). Finally never accept friend requests or respond to emails from people you do not know.
In short, be cautious of what you post on a social networking site and be aware of what others are posting.