Social Media and Your Medical Malpractice Case
Social networking has a variety of benefits. But in the middle of a medical malpractice case, information from your online accounts could lead to harmful evidence to your case.
Defense lawyers could research your social media accounts and find conflicting statements, fraud, or exaggeration. An undercover investigator could “friend” or follow your blog. Then he or she may find inconsistent information about existing injuries, severity of your injury, or your ability to work. You may not be lying about this information, but the content you post on social media could suggest otherwise.
As a rule of thumb, you should only discuss your case with your attorney. Otherwise, defendants could use material from sites like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube against you.
Imagine the impact on your case if a defense lawyer discovered that you have a tendency to drink a lot. Or if you already seemed aggressive about your hospital situation before you saw the doctor.
You don’t have to-and you shouldn’t-delete your social media accounts to keep your case safe. You can’t change the past, but you can control your account and be wary of what you post going forward. Consider these suggestions.
Don’t “Friend” Strangers
During your case, you shouldn’t add new friends to your social network, particularly people you don’t know. Some defense lawyers may go undercover and pose as friends to look for information.
Limit Your Contacts to Family and Friends You Know and Trust
Ask yourself “Do I want this person to have access to my personal information? How well do I know them?” You should also assume that all the information on your accounts is public and then post accordingly.
Avoid “Friending” Your Lawyers and Their Staff Members
Your lawyers may find information that could create problems or distrust between you two. He or she may still ask about social media accounts, but you should discuss this information in an office rather than “friending” your lawyer. Then your lawyer will get your perspective on your posts instead of seeing them firsthand.
Reset the Security Settings on Your Accounts
You can control who has access to your social media. Change your security settings to the most private option on your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. You should also consider limiting access to your friends list to only your existing friends.
Practice Good Judgment
Consider how a picture or message could influence your legal case. For example, you don’t want to post pictures of yourself on a hike a few days after you’ve reported an injury. Remove tagged pictures of yourself if they could be misleading. You want your social media accounts free of any legal and medical information.
Never Mention Bad Medical Experiences
Many people use social media to vent about problems in their lives; however, you should avoid talking about your medical experiences. These posts could lead to evidence against you in a medical lawsuit.
Leave Current Information Online
While you may be tempted to delete past posts, the law classifies this action as illegal. Litigants have a responsibility to preserve and protect relevant evidence that they know about. Erasing past posts is similar to tampering with evidence, which is illegal. The same rule applies to altering past posts. Never alter or delete information; it can prove difficult and cost a lot to retrieve that data.