How Social Media Can Affect Your Ohio Personal Injury Case

Recently there has been much debate among Ohio personal injury lawyers regarding social media, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. Social media has come up in personal injury cases as of late, including cases for injuries from car or truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, product liability cases, etc. Insurance companies and their representatives are always coming up with new tactics for paying out less to injured victims. Recently, they have turned to injured victims’ social media pages in attempting to discredit injuries. The most obvious thing the defense will look for is pictures or comments that are inconsistent with the alleged injuries, i.e. pictures of a person alleging a sprained lower back doing gymnastics shortly after the accident. Contrary to what the media may have you believe, the reality is that situations such as these rarely if ever come up, as clients of this sort are quickly weeded out by the Plaintiff’s attorney and/or the client’s doctor. However, the defense doesn’t just look for these obvious contradictions. Pictures of a person smiling in a picture can be used against them. The defense may claim that a person injured is exaggerating their injuries because if they were in the pain that they allege they wouldn’t be smiling. In reality, the injured person’s symptoms might have just been at a low point at the time of the picture, or the victim might have been in pain when the picture was taken, but was just posing for the picture. This illustrates two points: 1. That insurance companies are well armed with the tools and knowledge to get people to settle claims at what we consider below fair value and 2. That people injured in Ohio due to someone else’s negligence should be cognizant of what they put on their social media sites and who can view it.

Another issue that arises is that you cannot destroy relevant evidence if you are involved in a lawsuit. This means that taking down damaging photos once they are up on Facebook may be considered destruction of evidence and can may you in trouble with the court. So be careful what you post on your Facebook page, as defense counsel may subpoena your entire page.

Because social media is a relatively new phenomenon, Courts in Ohio are still deciding on how to deal with how information posted on sites can be used. There is no set precedent making it clear as of the date of this post. However, a New Jersey court recently held in McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway, Inc., that an injured Plaintiff had no reasonable expectation of pricy on social media networks. The court looked at Facebook’s privacy policy and determined that since Facebook has access to any information posted, people who sign up for a social media site shouldn’t expect the information posted to remain private. New Jersey’s laws are similarly drafted to Ohio’s. Therefore, it is likely that Ohio will likely take the same or a similar view when dealing with social media issues. The moral of the story is use caution when setting privacy settings on social media networks.

For more information about this subject go to and request a copy of my free Book entitled The Insider’s Guide to Handling Ohio Accident Claims. You can also order my free DVD entitled What you should know about motor vehicle injury claims. Both the free Book and free DVD describe in more detail what you need to know to protect your rights NOW.

Call the experienced personal injury, car, auto, truck, SUV, Semi, pedestrian, motorcycle, and wrongful death attorneys at Chester Law Group today to get the help you want from people you can trust 800-218-4243.