We have discussed the dangers of using social media to share your personal injury story, especially leading up to and during the trial, which are many. Photographs and status updates can potentially be used against you by the other side as evidence that you are not as hurt or injured as you claim, potentially reducing your ability to recover financial damages. However, a driver who was hit by a truck and whose wife died in the accident recently had his multi-million dollar jury award upheld even though new evidence showed that before the trial he erased incriminating evidence on his Facebook page.
In this case, the Virginia man and his wife were driving in a car when a cement truck driven by another man crossed the center line. The truck tipped over and crushed the couples’ vehicle. The wife was killed in the accident and the truck driver pled guilty to manslaughter based on investigators’ evidence that he was speeding. All in all, a tragic case of a what happens when drivers don’t follow the rules of the road.
The man brought a civil suit against the owner of the cement truck company and a jury ruled in his favor, awarding him a total of $8.5 million, plus $2 million to his wife’s parents in a wrongful death action. However, the concrete company asked for a new trial after it was discovered that before trial the man’s attorney asked him to “clean up” his Facebook profile, which included photos of the man holding a beer can and wearing a garter belt on his head and wearing a t-shirt that said “I [heart] hot moms.” The lawyer was very aware of the role social media, especially Facebook, can play in a personal injury trial. Although the 16 photos deleted did not appear to lessen the pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, the man suffered as a result of the truck accident.
When it comes to social media use during your personal injury lawsuit in Los Angeles, it is better to be safe than sorry. Pictures and words can be used against an accident victim in ways that may be unfair. At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, MD, Esq. we advise our clients to err on the edge of caution and avoid posting any potentially incriminating information.