How social media posts could become evidence in a compensation claim
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BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.
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Could a Facebook post, Instagram photo or tweet be used in evidence if you are injured and claiming compensation?
In previous articles we at BL Claims Solicitors have highlighted the importance of keeping all documentation that may be relevant to a claim, because it may be referred to in court. However, many people may not realise that this also applies to electronic documentation.
There is a duty of disclosure during the litigation process and this applies to all documents, whether in paper or electronic form, which carry information relating to the circumstances of the case or the impact that your injuries have had on you.
E-disclosure, as it is referred to, covers all word-processed documents, databases, e-mails, text messages and social media posts. It also covers deleted electronic documents and metadata (data about data).
Parties to the litigation process are increasingly requesting disclosure of social media posts, as these can provide valuable information about the individual concerned.
Social media can be used to compile evidence as to how the injury happened. Facebook discussions can provide documentary evidence of correspondence between individuals, which can be particularly pertinent if for example, there are discussions between witnesses to events surrounding an accident. Do these match with the formal witness statement that has been provided?
Social media also provides an insight into the lifestyle that an individual is able to lead. If for example an injured person has stated that because of their injuries they are no longer able to enjoy a social life, but then posts images of themselves at a concert on Twitter, you can see why questions may be asked.
However it also needs to be borne in mind that social media is a way of showing only what you want to show, a "virtual" reality if you like. The same individual may have needed to be driven to the concert, paid extra for restricted mobility access, taken strong painkillers and be completely exhausted for the next two days because of the effort required.
Social media is a fantastic and immediate way of communicating with friends, relatives and colleagues but in almost all cases it is intended to be informal. Litigation proceedings are certainly not informal and there are rules of evidence that must be complied with.
If you have been injured and particularly if you are thinking about trying to claim compensation, it is essential that you remember that all relevant electronic documents and communications should be preserved and are disclosable.
Take some time to think about what any social media post might imply about you before posting and make sure that you are happy that it could ultimately be produced as evidence in formal court proceedings.
BL Claims Solicitors are here to help
If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org