Protect Your Ottawa Lawsuit from Facebook in 5 Easy Steps

OTTAWA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER – Eight months ago I wrote about the dangers for litigants who post their lives on social media pages. At that time, there were way fewer adults on Facebook and similar sites. My warning, I am certain, went largely ignored. The use of Facebook and now Twitter have increased dramatically since then. So have the consequences for injured people involved in lawsuits.

Here are some facts to consider:

FACT-> While initially people were quite guarded about what photos they posted online and who has access to them, people are gradually becoming more exhibitionist. Your friends may have photos of you, that can be searched by your name, on their pages. In other words, your own privacy settings cannot protect you entirely.

FACT-> The Courts have ordered injured plaintiffs to produce their facebook pages to the insurance company lawyers.

FACT-> Evidence from Facebook has been admitted in Ontario Courts and is used by the police and the traditional media.

FACT-> Every insurance defence lawyer has a law clerk on Facebook who is looking for their opponents’ pages, profiles and pictures on Facebook.

So, does that mean you have to withdraw from the 21st century and avoid social media? As your lawyer, I would like to say, well, yes. Avoid it like the plague.

However, as a human being I recognize that may not be possible. So, what steps can you take to protect yourself?

Step One: Take a critical eye to your social media sites to see if there is anything you would not want the insurance company lawyer to see. Remember that the insurance company will not know the context of your photos or comments. They won’t know if you swallowed a bottle of pain killers to get through that party.

Step Two: Check your privacy settings. Most sites allow you to block certain people altogether from seeing that you even are on the site. Block the opposing lawyer and his / her clerk. Keep in mind however, that there will be law students and others whose names you won’t know so this is not foolproof.

Step Three: Search your name in the search field to see what comes up and make sure it is acceptable.

Step Four: While you are at it, do the same thing on Google and You Tube. Make whatever adjustements are necessary.

Step Five: Don’t accept friend requests or answer emails through social media from people you do not know. On Facebook, if you send a message, you grant the receiver access to your profile for a certain number of days. That is a common device to get access to your profile. Keep in mind that because of the lawsuit process, the opposing legal team knows a lot about you and could send you an email that might make you think you know each other.

If you are in doubt about whether or not your pages are acceptable, speak to your personal injury lawyer about it.

If you have been injured in Ontario and are interested in getting fair compensation from your insurance company, a top personal injury lawyer can help. For more information, contact the Ottawa accident lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 860-4529.

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