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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.

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Can an Expert Help my Injury Claim?

After suffering an injury due to the negligent actions of another, filing a personal injury claim may be the answer to recovering the financial compensation one both needs and deserves. But filing a successful personal injury claim takes more than just notifying an insurance adjuster of an injury; evidence must be presented that proves both the cause of the injury and the extent of damages suffered. One form of evidence that can make or break a claim is expert testimony.

Types of Experts that May Be Useful in a Personal Injury Claim

There are four elements of a personal injury claim that must be established for the claim to be successful: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages. Experts may be called upon to provide testimony and opinion for each. For example, types of experts that may be useful in the personal injury claim process include:

  • Accident reconstruction experts, who can lend insight as to how an accident occurred;
  • Design experts, who can testify to a defective design of a product or automobile, leading to failure and injury;
  • Medical experts, who can testify about a breach of the medical standard of care or/and provide testimony about the extent of injuries a plaintiff has suffered and what the future may look like;
  • Mental health and psychological experts, whose statements may be used to decide about the amount of pain and suffering experienced by a claimant;
  • Financial experts, whose professional opinions may be used in calculating the value of a claimant’s economic losses; and
  • Forensic experts, who can collect and analyze physical evidence to decide about how an accident occurred and who should be held liable for damages.

The above list is not inclusive; the experts that may be necessary in a personal injury claim can vary on a case-by-case basis. For example, an expert in childhood development may be necessary for a case involving a child, or an expert in animal behavior may be called upon in a case involving a dog bite.

Why Are Experts So Important in Injury Claims?

The role of an expert in an injury claim should not be understated. An expert’s opinion and testimony can truly make or break a case, providing unbiased, official, and specialized knowledge about how an accident occurred or the damages that a claimant has suffered. In some cases, such as a medical malpractice case, expert opinion is not only helpful, but required; a court cannot know if the medical standard of care has been breached without hearing from other doctors.

Who Pays for an Expert’s Opinion?

Hiring an expert to be involved in your case, from investigating what happened to providing testimony for an insurance adjuster or court, is not an inexpensive endeavor. In fact, some experts may charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for their time.

However, because experts are so important and can have such an influence on the outcome of a personal injury case, hiring an expert is often not optional, but necessary. This is one of the primary reasons why working with a law firm with the resources available to invest in experts for your case is a must. When you hire the right law firm, the law firm will front experts’ costs on your behalf. If your case is successful, you will pay the law firm from a percentage of your winnings, rather than paying out of pocket fees.

Call the Alsobrook Law Firm for Your Free Consultation Today

At the offices of Alsobrook Jackson, our talented Alabama personal injury attorneys have hired experts to help build cases and prove our clients’ claims numerous times of the years. We have the resources and connections your case demands, and we’re ready to start building your claim today. To schedule a free consultation with our legal team, please send us a message, visit us in person, or call us at 334-737-3718 today.