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Be Mindful of Your Social Media

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Who Doesn't Love to Fish?

I really do love to fish.  It could be freshwater or saltwater, but it is a ton of fun to get out on the water in pursuit of the next catch.  You often spend a lot of time without success, but when you do get a catch it makes it worth while and keeps you fishing.

When you are involved in any litigation, the other side will be fishing to find anything that will be useful in either negotiating your case or disposing of your case.  It does not matter if we are talking about prosecutors in a criminal case, insurance lawyers and staff in your personal injury claim or other interested parties in a will probate contest – they will all be fishing to help them gain an advantage over you by virtue of what is on the internet.  They will be looking at all social media to see what could put you in a light that is not favorable to you and useful for them.  There have been many times that we have brought it up to clients that are totally unaware of what we are talking about only to be embarrassed by their pages that we printed out.

Do not under estimate the effect social media can have on your case.  The question is not if this applies, but how it applies.  Consider check-ins at amusement parks or ski resorts and how that could negatively affect your claim for diminished life enjoyment or reduced activities due to personal injuries.  The other side will be looking for social media posts that minimize or eliminate injury claims by showing activities that are not consistent with your claims.  Also, any posts or photos of you drinking alcohol or using drugs would prove persuasive against you in civil and criminal cases, as well as, probations revocations.  It is not just future posts to be aware of, but realize that older posts can be problematic to your case too.  Maintain your social media knowing that the insurance company, the prosecutor or your probation officer will be taking notes.

Many people think that it is no big deal because they have their account set to private.  However, be aware that search warrants and subpoenas duces tecum serve to make the social media companies produce the social media history and posts associated with your account.  We recommend that not only you perform searches on yourself, but also that you review and remove any items on any of your social media that do not put you in the best position to be successful in your case.

If you have a question about what this means, please let us know.  If in doubt, we would suggest removing the questionable post or shutting down the social media account, at least temporarily. Sorry to be the bearer of such news, but put yourself in the best position even if that means struggling to remove your Myspace page from back in the day.

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