Your accident lawyer probably already told you – the best approach is to just stop all your Facebook activity for the duration of your personal injury trial. For some people that would be like stopping their breathing….
If cutting yourself off from Facebook simply isn’t an option then read on so that you can get what’s owed to you, here are five ways lawyers use social media in the courtroom:
1) Social media profiles – As soon as lawyers are aware of the court case and parties involved, they can start researching an individual’s Facebook profile, MySpace account, and their other social media involvement. As far as Facebook is concerned, lawyers can only view your information if they’re a friend of yours – unless your privacy settings allow a broader audience.
2) Screen names – Accident lawyers can also request information that will help them identify your online screen names for chat rooms, discussion forums, messenger programs, and more.
3) Blog entries – Any public blog posts are also searchable – and can be used as evidence.
4) Computer access – Normally, a court order or subpoena is required to access your personal computer. However, if the police have a probable cause, they can search your computer without either of these.
5) Consent forms & subpoenas – Some defense lawyers have begun asking the plaintiff to sign a consent form. They’ll add the consent form to a subpoena and send it to sites like Facebook and MySpace, requesting private information. However, the Federal Stored Communications Act generally governs posts on social networks – meaning sites aren’t always required to fork over personal information when subpoenaed.
Court cases are stressful events – and we want to make sure you get what’s owed to you after all of your strife. Even if you consider yourself a social media addict, simply knowing how lawyers “work” can be a great help – and can increase the likelihood the case will go in your favor.