If you are involved in a personal injury case, or any lawsuit of any kind, you may be wondering whether or not you should avoid using social media for the duration of the court case. The simple answer is, “It depends.” The most important thing to know is that you should speak with your lawyer before doing anything on social media. Whether your attorney tells you to stay off it or that it is okay to use it, you should follow his or her instructions.
There actually are some cases where using social media could hurt your court case. But this is not always the case. However, no matter what kind of lawsuit you are a part of, and no matter what you may have to say, you should never say anything related to your court case on social media. Saying something indirect or minor can still very seriously hurt your case. There have been cases where one attorney enters social media posts into evidence.
A common pitfall many people fall into is posting something that they think is objective on social media. If it is simply facts that everyone must agree on, then it cannot hurt, right? This is simply untrue. Things may be more subjective than you believe, and even if what you say is truly and perfectly objective, it can still hurt your case in unexpected ways.
Outside of posting about your court case, chances are good that you will be able to continue using social media. Your lawyer may advice you not to simply as a precaution, and if that is the case, you should follow their advice. There are some cases, however, where any social media posts can be detrimental. This is most commonly true for cases where you are trying to claim emotional trauma. Happy posts can undermine this, by showing that you are not as emotionally traumatized as you claim. In fact, even posts that simply portray you as neutral may be evidence that you are not traumatized.
This is exactly what happened in Largent v. Reed. The plaintiff claimed that she was in physical and emotional pain, but pictures on her social media showed her at the gym and doing daily activities without trouble. This hurt her case considerably. The lesson is that you should always think of everything you post online as potential evidence in your case. More importantly, speak to your lawyer about this subject and always strictly adhere to whatever he or she decides is best for your lawsuit.