Part of being a skilled personal injury attorney is knowing all the tricks of the trade, including knowing when the opposing counsel is up to dirty tricks. Here’s just one example of how the insurance companies, or their lawyers, may try to attack somebody who is fighting them in court.
Video as a Character Witness
Popular attorney blog: New York Personal Injury Blog reports that in the case of Reid v. Soults, a man named Robert Reid died after an ATV accident, allegedly due to medical malpractice. When confronted with a medical malpractice case, the opposing counsel dug through every square inch of Robert Reid’s life – including his online history.
The lawyers representing the insurance company found a youtube video of Rob Reid behaving wildly–drinking, smoking, and using guns. The defendants wanted to use the video as evidence in trial. Why? In the hopes that the jury won’t like Reid.
Videos Hurting Your Case?
In the case of Reid v. Soults, the personal injury lawyers representing the family of the deceased took the situation before a judge named Joan Lefkowitz. Judge Lefkowitz rightly found that there was no relevance to the case to be found in the video and gave the defense a firm “NO” in using the video in court.
But this raises a disturbing question: Could your social media behavior (videos on youtube or facebook, comments or posts on facebook, etc.) destroy your character or even your whole case? If the insurance companies wanted to paint a bad picture of you, would they have access to your accounts? Would you or your attorney know how to prevent this?
Protect Privacy and Post Responsibly.
Obviously there are some best practices in which you can engage every day to protect your future rights. The first, and most obvious, step is to make your social media profiles private. Share with your friends, but not the public.
Second, always be conscious of your future needs when you post anything public. For example, you may want to avoid publicly “liking” extreme groups or ideas. Public profiles, such as your LinkedIn account, ought to be thought of as a resume, not an outlet for expressing every thought or passion.
Third, if a friend shares something of you that could make you look bad, consider asking them to keep it private between you.
Finally, there is always going to be some things in the social media world that you can’t control. That’s just part of modern life. Luckily, that’s where your own attorney steps in. A good personal injury attorney can make sure that the lawyers or companies on a “fishing expedition” for negative media are stopped.
If you have questions about your rights during a personal injury case, contact us today. We’re here to help.