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Social Media and Lawsuits

February 23, 2023

By Thomas McCutcheon

“Have you altered, deleted, changed, modified, rendered private, or de-activated any social media account existing as of the date of the accident made the basis of this suit? If so, state the username of the account affected, the changes made, and the type of social media account.

Note: Now that this request has been made, you are reminded of your obligation under the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure to preserve all such social media data and to refrain from altering, modifying, changing, deleting, rendering private, or de-activating any such account during the course of this litigation under potential spoliation sanction.”

This is an actual question that clients are asked by insurance companies in almost every lawsuit.

People think that they can change their account settings to private or that they have some right to privacy when they file a lawsuit, but they don’t.

The only things that are private are communications between the attorney and the client and probably psychiatric records. If there’s a claim of mental anguish, (the wreck has made me too anxious to drive), then those psychiatric records probably become relevant and admissible.

The point is if you claim a shoulder injury, don’t post a video on Facebook of yourself pitching softball with your child. Even if it did hurt later, a jury won’t believe it. People look for consistency.

The reality is that most people don’t and have no reason to understand how the legal system works. People believe what they think are facts and they’re not. People believe that if the other person was at fault, that is all that matters. That’s just where it begins. There is no reason for anyone who doesn’t have to, to read a doctor’s deposition. I have to take one in every case that goes to trial. You wouldn’t believe what defense lawyers ask doctors all the way down to “couldn’t something else have happened that you don’t know about have caused the injury?”.

What is a doctor to say to that? I guess, or like what, a meteor? The insurance defense lawyers never give in unless it’s a broken bone that happened in the wreck and not falling out of the car after the wreck. Even then, they will make the point that the bone healed just fine and the person is okay now.

If you are injured, don’t do a lot of posting about it on social media.

Buckle up, drive safely, and as always, thank you for your referrals!


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