Social Media Dos and Don’ts During Your Medical Malpractice Case
Imagine if a defense lawyer from your medical malpractice case went looking through your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. Would they find pictures of you skiing on the mountainside or repelling from a cliff despite your back injury?
If so, you could negatively influence the outcome of your legal case. Defense lawyers can use the information you post online as evidence against you. Any statements you post online could hurt your case if they conflict with your claim. Even when you’re completely honest on your social media accounts, some information can be misunderstood or come across as misleading. Your best bet is to assume that everything you post online is public and usable in court.
Use these dos and don’ts to help you keep your social media usage from negatively influencing your medical malpractice case.
Don’t: “Friend” Your Lawyer or Strangers
You can never be safe enough about who you allow to see what you post online, especially during a medical malpractice case. Don’t add new people to your social media accounts if you’re not sure who they are or if you don’t want them to see what you post.
Occasionally, a defense attorney may try and “friend” or add a plaintiff on social media to investigate him or her. You can avoid unwanted eyes on your social media accounts by ensuring that you know every person you add to your social media contacts. Keep in mind that defense lawyers can also receive court orders that allow them to view online accounts.
You should also avoid consulting your lawyer about social media through social media accounts. Instead, talk with your lawyer face-to-face about your online activity. He or she can better understand your perspective if you talk about it one-on-one rather than sharing information through a post online.
Do: Set Strict Privacy Settings on Online Accounts
Most social media accounts allow you to control who can access your posts, friends, and other information. Set your privacy or security settings on your social media accounts to the highest level of security possible. In addition, only allow your current friends to see your friends list.
Don’t: Post About Medical Care or Legal Matters
Even after you have taken security precautions, don’t use social media to vent your frustrations concerning legal or medical matters. Many people use social media to post reviews about particular services. However, if a defense attorney sees you post negative reviews about health care experiences, he or she may try and use these statements against you.
Consider how each post or picture could influence your medical malpractice case.
Do: Encourage Family and Friends to Limit Posts About You
If you have friends and family that often include you in their posts, ask them to not include you in any posts during your legal case. Help your friends and family understand that information online could be used against you in court. If a friend or family member does tag you in a photo that could be misleading, remove the tag.
Overall, keep a low profile on the Internet during your case to avoid harming your medical malpractice case.
Don’t: Remove Previous Posts or Information
As you prepare your social media accounts for your legal case, you may see past posts that may seem detrimental to your legal case. However, as tempting as it may seem, don’t delete past posts.
As a plaintiff, you are responsible for protecting and preserving relevant evidence. Erasing past posts may be interpreted as tampering with relevant evidence, which is illegal.
Follow these social media guidelines to avoid potential problems during your medical malpractice case. If you know of potential posts that could hurt your case, talk with your lawyer immediately. Even if the information is embarrassing, your lawyer can help you determine the best way to legally handle the situation.