There is nothing in the law that prevents content posted to social media from being presented as evidence in court. In a civil lawsuit, this could be to your advantage or disadvantage. On the one hand, if the defendant posted something to social media that is helpful to your case, you could present it to the court as evidence to support your position. On the other hand, if you post something to social media that contradicts your claim, the other side could discover it and use it against you in court. Here are some tips for handling social media while a lawsuit is pending.
Preserve Relevant Communications
If you have had any digital communication with the defendant in a lawsuit, you should preserve this carefully. If the communications contain anything that is of value to your case, you can then present it to the court. Preserving records of the communication means that you have it even if the other party attempts to delete it.
Use Caution When Posting
You are responsible for anything you post on social media, whether publicly or privately. It is safest not to post anything on social media regarding your case. While the lawsuit is pending, you may want to refrain from using social media altogether because posts that are seemingly unrelated may hurt your case.
For example, there have been documented instances of people bringing personal injury lawsuits who lost their cases because they posted pictures of themselves going about their normal activities following the accident, undermining the assertion that they had sustained irreparable harm as a result of the injuries sustained.
Don’t Delete Accounts
It might seem safer to delete your social media accounts altogether, but that is not a good idea either. It may appear to the court that you are trying to destroy or tamper with evidence, which can get you in legal trouble. It may be appropriate to make your accounts private and only allow access to people that you trust. However, don’t think that this means that you can post whatever you want because there are ways around these safeguards.
Understand the Rules of Evidence
Many people mistakenly believe that evidence obtained from social media is not admissible in court. However, this is not true. The rules of evidence that govern illegally obtained evidence only apply to law enforcement. They do not apply to private citizens, meaning that anyone who has access to your social media could submit posts as evidence.
Contact a law office for assistance with your personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer in Towson, MD, like from Seigel & Rouhana, LLC, can give you more specific advice about how to handle social media while the litigation is pending.