impact of social media on personal injury lawsuit

What Impact Could Social Media Have on My Personal Injury Suit?

The consequences of using social media probably aren’t something you think much about. Social media use is ubiquitous, with the Pew Research Center reporting that about seven in 10 Americans use it to connect with others. In fact, it’s likely that you use multiple social media platforms on a regular basis, including popular sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

But if you’re filing a lawsuit (or you have had a lawsuit filed against you), your use of social media is something you should indeed consider. Social media can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case, and here are some of the ways this can happen:

Social Media Serves as a Type of Evidence

The first thing that you should understand is that anything you post on the internet is public information, and therefore can be accessed by whomever, including the attorney for the other side. This means that pictures, updates, blogs, and the like can all be admitted to the court record as evidence. And don’t be quick to assume that your private messages are all the private, either – if the other party involved in the messages turns them over, those messages are fair game. What’s more, a lawyer could obtain a subpoena for cellphone and online records, including texts, private messages, and more. In today’s digital world, using various forms of online and digital evidence in a lawsuit is very common.

Social Media Can Undermine Your Claim

The next thing that you should know is that social media can undermine your claim. Even if what you’re posting to social media seems insignificant and innocuous, it may not be. Here are some examples of how social media posts can devalue your personal injury claim:

  • You claim to have broken your leg in the accident, but a recent picture posted of you on social media shows you at the golf course. Never mind the fact that, in reality, you were only on the golf course that day as a tag-along, riding in the cart to keep a friend company, or the fact that the photo shows you in the cart, but your legs aren’t visible (and if they were, you could surely see your cast). The other side submits this as evidence to the court that you must have been lying about your broken leg; otherwise, how would you have been able to spend the day at the course?
  • You are demanding damages for pain and suffering, claiming that the accident has left you with a disability that has altered your quality of life. On Facebook, a colleague posts publicly, asking how you’re doing. Out of politeness and to protect your privacy – you don’t want to be moaning and groaning about how miserable you are to your online contacts – you reply that you are doing well and that your recovery is coming along. The attorney for the defense snatches this up, using it as evidence to show that despite your demand for claim that you are in great pain a lot of the time, your social media profile indicates that you are doing just fine.

There are countless other examples like this. Posting pictures, even from the past, allowing yourself to be tagged in pictures that others post of you, checking into different locations, or talking about your accident or your injuries online can all be damaging to your claim if this information gets into the wrong hands.

Best Practices for Social Media Use When Pursuing a Lawsuit

If you’re involved in a lawsuit, it’s best to put your social media activity on hold. If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to cease use of your accounts, at the very least you should set your accounts to private, refrain from accepting friend requests from anyone you don’t know, and never talk about your accident or injuries online.

Call Our Lawyers Today for More Information and Legal Guidance

Social media use may be the way that people stay connected in 2019, but it can be disastrous in a lawsuit. If you have questions about pursuing a personal injury claim or another lawsuit type, are worried about online evidence being used against you, or are in need of a highly-qualified lawyer for representation, please reach out to the Alsobrook Law Group online or by phone at (334) 737-3718. We offer free consultations and always accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.

slip and fall attorney

What Should I Know About Premises Liability?

Sometimes, a dangerous property condition can lead to a life-changing injury. If you’ve been hurt on another party’s property, you may be entitled to damages under the legal theory known as “premises liability.”

Premises liability is a legal concept that often comes into play in personal injury cases involving a defective or unsafe condition on someone else’s property. If you can prove your case, the responsible party will have to compensate you for damages.

But these cases can be complex legal matters in Alabama and not something you should take lightly. If you’re thinking about filing a personal injury claim based on premises liability, here are several questions you should ask.

What is Premises Liability Law in Alabama?

A majority of premises liability cases are based on the theory of negligence. This is important, because just simply being injured on another person’s property doesn’t necessarily mean that there was an unsafe condition present or that the property owner was negligent.

Your attorney will need to prove that the owner either ignored a condition that was unsafe or otherwise acted negligently. For negligence to exist, there must be several elements:

  • A duty of care exists (ex. – a restaurant owner must avoid having slippery bathroom floors.)
  • There was a breach of the duty (ex. – the bathroom floors were wet with no warning signs.)
  • An accident occurred because of the breach. (ex. – you slipped and fell on the wet floor.)
  • Your injuries directly resulted from the accident. (ex – you strained your back from the fall.)

How Many Different Types of Premises Liability Cases Are There?

A premises liability case can arise anytime a person is injured on another party’s property. This opens up a broad range of possibilities. Some of the most common types of these cases include:

  • Slip and fall
  • Dog bites and animal attacks
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Fires
  • Ice and snow accidents
  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Amusement park accidents
  • Toxic fume and chemical exposure
  • Defective conditions on the premises
  • Flooding and water leaks
  • Assault due to inadequate security
  • Inadequate maintenance on the property
  • Missing or defective handrails on stairs
  • Falling merchandise from shelving
  • Poor lighting
  • Uneven walkways, sidewalks, and parking lots

What Was the Nature of Your Visit to the Property?

Although all property owners should keep their premises safe, they don’t owe the same duty of care to everyone that steps foot on their land, in their home, or inside their business. The status of the visitors impacts how much responsibility the property owner might have if an injury occurs. There are three types of visitor roles:

  • Invitee. This is someone who is “invited” onto the property for the express purpose of conducting business. It might be a customer entering a store or a plumber that goes to a home on a call. In these cases, the property owner owes the highest duty of care to this group.
  • Licensee. This is an individual that has the property owner’s implied or expressed permission to enter the property. Examples are guests at a dinner party or electric company meter readers. The standard of care is lower, but if the property owner knows of hazards, they must correct them and give a warning.
  • Trespasser. Property owners owe the lowest level of responsibility to this group, but aren’t permitted to set “traps.” When children are involved, the rules are different. Pools must have adequate fencing, and property owners must protect children from harm if they frequent the area.

What if Both Parties Were Partially at Fault?

Every state approaches this differently, and Alabama has one of the strictest doctrines in the nation (with regards to fault) known as contributory negligence. This rule states that, if you contributed to your accident (even just 1%), you would be completely barred from recovering damages from the at-fault party.

Because of this, it’s vital that you avoid discussing your accident with anyone and speak to a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Fighting for the Rights You Deserve in Premises Liability Cases

If you or someone you love has been hurt on another party’s property, our best advice is to discuss your case with an experienced Alabama premises liability attorney right away. These cases can be difficult to prove, and insurance companies are not in the business of paying fair settlements to accident victims.

At Alsobrook Law Group, we promise to be your strongest legal advocate throughout this process. We will not only conduct an independent investigation of your accident; we will also take steps to protect evidence and secure the maximum compensation you need and deserve.

Contact our Opelika office today at 334-345-2765 to schedule your free consultation or stop by our office at your convenience.

brain injury attorney in alabama

5 Common Causes of Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when there is a jolt or blow to the brain, disrupting its normal function. In the case of a concussion, the injury might be minor, but it can also be severe and permanent.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that roughly 2.87 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths occur each year in the U.S., and over 800,000 of these involve children. These can be serious conditions that require medical care and ongoing treatment.

Here are the five most common causes of brain injuries according to the CDC’s statistics and their common symptoms:

1. Falls

Falls are the most common cause of brain injuries in the U.S., accounting for about 35% of these cases. The rates are higher (50%) among children ages 0-14 and 62% among seniors over the age of 65.

A slip and fall on another person’s property can lead to a TBI, even if your head doesn’t hit the ground. The simple act of the body being violently jolted is enough to cause a brain injury.

2. Motor Vehicle Accidents

The second-leading cause of brain injuries is traffic accidents, which accounts for 17% of TBIs. However, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death related to brain injuries.

Whiplash from a car, truck, or motorcycle accident can lead to TBI. Even when whiplash doesn’t exist, a collision that causes the head to strike an object can have severe consequences.

3. Struck by Object

The next leading cause (16.5%) comes from a person being struck by an object. However, this is the second leading cause of TBIs (25%) among children ages 0-14.

An example of this type of injury is materials that fall off of a store shelf onto a customer’s head. Another is falling materials on a construction site that hit a passing worker.

4. Violence

A person being the victim of physical violence related to assault or a being shot is the cause of roughly 10% of all TBIs. Some examples of TBIs related to violence are stabbing and gunshot wounds to the head as well as the head striking the ground during an assault. Shaken baby syndrome can lead to a TBI in infants.

5. Other/Unknown

There are other causes of brain injury that don’t fall into one of the above categories. This group accounts for 21% of all TBIs.

A common cause that ends up in this catch-all category is sports, and these aren’t always the “extreme” sports that most people imagine. While boxing, hockey, and football are dangerous, so are sports like soccer, baseball, and cycling. In short, it’s always a good idea to have proper training and wear a helmet.

Symptoms of a Brain Injury

Brain injuries can have a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. Some of these might appear immediately, while others won’t show up until days or even weeks after an accident. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common symptoms to watch for include:

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Brief loss of consciousness
  • Being confused, dazed, or disoriented
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Issues with speech
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of balance or dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Blurred vision or ringing in the ears
  • Mood changes
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Concentration or memory problems

Moderate to Severe Brain Injury Symptoms

  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Loss of consciousness longer than several minutes
  • Persistent headache that gets worse
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Dilation of one or both pupils
  • Inability to awaken from sleep
  • Numbness or weakness in toes and fingers
  • Loss of coordination
  • Extreme confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Unusual behavior, agitation

If you suspect a brain injury or TBI, seek immediate medical attention. If left untreated, this is a condition that can worsen and even lead to death.

Brain Injuries Resulting from Negligence

If you or someone you care about has suffered a TBI due to the carelessness or negligence of another party, you may be able to claim compensation through a personal injury case. These injuries can be quite severe, and damages can include medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, your personal injury attorney can help determine who should be held responsible for your harm. At Alsobrook Law Group, our goal is to provide personalized representation to accident victims and their loved ones to help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve.

To schedule your free consultation, contact our Opelika office today at 334-345-2765.