If You Have Been The Victim Of A Car Accident Or Any Other Legal Action Involving Catastrophic Injury, There Is A Good Chance That Investigators And Insurance Companies Or Their Attorneys Will Be Seeking Information About You On Social Media Sources Such
Over the last year, we have received reports from clients who have been “friended “ on Facebook by individuals that they cannot identify and we always advise all of our clients to never accept “a friend” that they do not know on any social media as more likely than not there is probably not a good purpose to this “meeting”. As a matter of fact, we recommend that any of our clients involved in a catastrophic injury claim suspend any and all messaging and posting on social media websites until the conclusion of their legal case. If someone attempts to “friend” you on Facebook or any other social media, ask yourself what is their motivation? Is that “friend” motivated by the quest for information? A successful and well versed defense lawyer will attempt to leave no stone unturned in determining any information that they may use against a defendant, including but not limited to queries, relationships, hobbies, and activities that people generally post on Facebook. Unfortunately many times people make postings on Facebook or other social sites that contain sensitive information that can be used against them by a well skilled advocate. When you post something on Facebook, it is posted at your own risk and the courts in Pennsylvania have determined that the information is discoverable.
After numerous depositions over the last year where defense counsel has asked my client to provide his or her Facebook user name and password, the courts have claimed that “only the uninitiated or foolish could believe that Facebook is an online lock box of secrets.” The Pennsylvania courts have held that if a party in a civil case posts information on his or her Facebook page and that information appears to contradict statements and discovery testimony, then the party’s Facebook page falls within the scope of discovery. Therefore, a simple lesson following a motto that I practice by is that “chance favors the prepared mind” and this mandates a strict and serious warning that any information posted online can and most likely will be found by opposing parties or their investigators in litigation and will be reachable through the power of a court issued subpoena.
Jeffrey Reiff has been practicing catastrophic injury and wrongful death law in Pennsylvania since 1979 with the experienced catastrophic injury and wrongful death law firm of Reiff and Bily. He welcomes inquiries concerning new legal matters and always offers a free, no obligation consultation toll free at 1-800-421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.