As ubiquitous as social media is these days, it's been known to get people in trouble for things they've said - comments and posts that are new or old. And if you're a plaintiff in a personal injury trial, you must know that everything you do and have done will be under scrutiny and can be used against you.
The best way to avoid problems is to shut down your social media presence - but that's hard to do and most people don't want to disconnect from friends and family completely. Here are some tips that will help you keep your social media life out of the courtroom:
- Suspend or delete your Facebook and Twitter accounts to make previous posts unavailable, and prevent any further posts from causing trouble. This, however, is difficult for some people who need to stay in touch. If you don't suspend yours, read on to the other tips to make sure they're in good standing.
- Shut down any blogs, especially if they detail your life and give personal details that you wouldn't want scrutinized.
- Ensure your privacy settings are strong, like checking Facebook's settings to make sure only friends can see your posts and photos, not people in your city or school network who aren't your friends. You can make your tweets available to just followers, as well.
- Review and filter photos that you're tagged in or have posted in your own albums. Even if you're not in the photo, if something could be seen in a bad light, it's worth deleting or making private.
- Review friends' posts on your wall and replies at you on Twitter. Make sure that they don't contradict any testimony or claims you've made.
- Think twice before you post anything. Even a vague emoji or three-word status update can be taken many different ways and potentially used against you. Don't discuss your trial or anything connected to it. This includes anything you post on a friend's wall or tweet at someone - ask yourself if this information could be used as evidence before hitting send.
- Explore all of your social media channels to make sure they also appear appropriate. Facebook and Twitter are the most common social channels that will be examined, but be sure to mine your Tumblr, Foursquare, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and even MySpace to make sure there is nothing there that could be used against you.
Being in court is stressful enough after you've been injured. Don't add to the stress by incriminating yourself or casting a negative light on your character. Use these best practices to help you be the best version of yourself to help the case go smoothly and not destroy your chances at compensation.