Thwarting the Facebook Defense

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” ― Joseph HellerCatch-22

When I meet with potential clients, I have a standard speech regarding social media:

No selfies.

Do you have Facebook? Stop posting.

Do you have Twitter? Stop posting.

Add Tumblr and Snapchat to that list.

I know that most clients laugh it off. They think that defense counsel won’t look them up. WRONG.  They are looking you up right now.  They are going to use any evidence of happiness, mobility, healthfulness against you.  If you aren’t miserable 24 hours a day, they will use that.

I had a client who testified at deposition that she hadn’t traveled outside the state since her accident.  Fair enough, except that Defense counsel had printed out her entire Facebook page.  She had been in Puerto Rico.  Not a big deal – but it was a simple tactic used to undermine her credibility. She had gone to her nephew’s graduation in Delaware. How dare she?

It is these simple tactics that most clients don’t understand.  It is not that she was not injured.  She was.  But as a Plaintiff you will be asked questions that you think you know the answers to, but that Facebook really knows the answers to. You will be treated as if using the legal system to resolve your claims makes you a bad person. You will be treated with suspicion.

Another client, on the day of his defense medical exam, was photographed and followed from Newark, NJ, to the Philadelphia suburbs by a private investigator.  This was to see if he needed a back brace and cane.  This was after spinal surgery.  I received a video in the mail showing him throwing a grocery bag in his trash.  How dare he?

So, just a simple piece of advice when you are seeking an attorney regarding your injuries:  at a minimum, make your Facebook non-public.  Take a break from posting.  Manage your information.  Hardly anybody takes pictures and posts their suffering.  Only a select few tweet their misery.  Your social media is probably a hopeful and optimistic version of yourself…and that hopeful optimism will be used against you.

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