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Personal injury cases and social media

Over the course of the last few years, many people throughout Ontario have opened accounts with social media platforms such as Facebook. Using these accounts, they share details of their lives with their online connections. Readers may not be aware that these accounts could be a possible source for evidence when it comes to a variety of legal cases, including personal injury. Accordingly, careful thought should be put into what is being posted on these accounts.

In an effort to refute allegations, it is possible the defense could seek to introduce photos and details posted on a social media site, which might appear to contradict the allegations of the claimant. When they are, a moment of feeling or looking good in a post or photo, could ultimately do harm to the personal injury claim.

Of course things are not always what they seem on social media accounts. For example, not all photos that are posted are taken in the moment. It is possible a photo posted today could look current but actually be from an earlier point in time, prior to the injury. In addition, some injuries--such as brain injuries--are invisible an would not be captured in a photo.

A recent court decision involving an individual seeking damages for serious injuries suffered in car accidents, provides an example of when this type of evidence may be sought. Though the plaintiff alleged the defendant’s quest to access material on the plaintiff’s Facebook account and personal computer was a breach of privacy, the court disagreed. Ultimately the plaintiff had to produce information on Facebook that was posted during a certain timeframe, including:

  • Postings
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs

The best way to avoid having to deal with this issue is of course to avoid posting and sharing on social media accounts altogether. A personal injury lawyer can provide further guidance on what you should and should not do when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

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