You may think the privacy settings on your social media pages are airtight, but that’s not the case when it comes to litigation. A recent Broward County court ruling forced a man, who has filed an injury case against Publix supermarket, to release his private Facebook postings to the insurance company involved in the litigation. In today’s world of social media, what you “say” online can and will be used against you in a court of law, so be careful!
A local personal injury victim was ordered, by a Broward County judge, to release printed copies of his personal Facebook page postings to Publix and its insurance company as part of what’s called “discovery.” According to the man’s personal injury lawyers, the same judge also forced their client to “friend” Publix so the supermarket chain’s attorneys could view his private information to see if he revealed anything related to his lawsuit. The attorneys are appealing.
The lesson from this disturbing case? Keep your private life private! At the Law Offices of Robert Rubenstein, our goal is to help you navigate the legal side of filing a personal injury claim with an insurance company. We understand that insurance companies want any and all information about claimants and, as we saw with this recent Broward County ruling, they will dig very deep if necessary. We highly recommend if you own or operate a website, blog or belong to a public social networking account such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, etc., you close the account until your case is completed. (It’s important to note we do NOT advocate or advise you delete or alter any social networking content.)
Here are some helpful tips for your social media privacy if you have a personal injury case:
- Assume the insurance company is sitting next to you as you post information. Your privacy is not necessarily protected during litigation. Personal computer searches are not common practice for insurance companies.
- Set your privacy settings to the highest setting possible.
- Make sure nothing is “public.”
- Take down your sites until your case is over.
- “Friend” anyone unless you are absolutely sure you know and trust that person.
- Post any photographs or video of yourself (or enable others to “tag” you).
- Write or disclose anything about your personal life that you would be embarrassed to have a defense attorney use against you in front of a judge and jury.
- Send e-mails or texts regarding your case to anyone except your attorneys.
- Enter insurance websites.
- Participate in blogs, chat-rooms, or message boards.
These steps may seem like a great inconvenience, but they are absolutely necessary to protect your privacy during what is already a difficult time. Your prevention will help your personal injury lawyers protect you from electronic surveillance and possible embarrassment if your case goes to trial.
If you or someone you know has been injured due to the negligence of another, you need an expert legal team to protect your rights AND your privacy. You can be sure your personal injury case will be handled with privacy and professionalism at the Law Offices of Robert Rubenstein. It’s 100% free to speak to a representative from our firm. Contact our offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, or West Palm Beach at 1-800-FL-Legal (355-3425).