An Important Reminder about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Your Lawsuit

One of the most irritating things plaintiff lawyers face now days is the smug look on the insurance company lawyer's face when he shows you a picture of your client on vacation, or at a pool party, or dancing, or concert...or golfing, planting flowers....all while your client is claiming in court to be terribly injured and disabled. And that picture almost always comes from the internet. Facebook and Twitter and Instagram are not private and if you think they are then you need a reality check.

That smug look makes this plaintiff lawyer want to use a few curse words at the defense lawyer...and bite the head off of my own client! If you are injured then you should not be doing these activities! There are two reasons:

1. It makes you look like you're exaggerating your complaints or are simply lying. If we catch you lying then we will drop you as a client. We are obligated to under our Rules of Ethics. Credibility is the most important thing in any lawsuit. If the jury thinks you're lying you will lose every time. And, the appearance of dishonesty is just as damaging as dishonesty itself. DO NOT LIE.

2. What we often hear is that the client tried to golf, or swim or ski...but that they were "in terrible pain the whole time or the next day." We've heard that line a hundred times. Whether it is true or not that the photo was "from a family event where you tried to join in but just couldn't" is irrelevant. What you think or what I think is irrelevant. All that matters is what a jury will think.

Here are two rules about litigation:

1. From the day of your injury forward, do not post any pictures, or allow yourself to be tagged in any pictures, that could be construed as damaging to your case. Ever. Not a picture of you lounging at the beach or playing ping pong. Not one planting roses or driving a lawn tractor. None. Ever.

2. Do not mention on Facebook or any other social media site that you are going on a ski vacation, or just bought a new ATV, or spent a beautiful spring day riding your Harley. Do not mention anything other than how beautiful your spouse is, how much you love your kids or how ridiculously charming your lawyer is. Those types of things are acceptable. But post nothing about your lawsuit and nothing which describes your activities. The defense will twist it a million ways against you.

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