In this new age of technology the use of social media has taken over the daily lives of people. As a society, people crave for attention and are constantly posting pictures of their daily activities including where they are, who they are with, and what they are eating each and every day. This constant posting on social media websites has become another arrow in the quiver of legal defense firms. As Judge Richard Walsh stated, “Only the foolish or uninitiated could believe that Facebook is an online lockbox for your secrets.” These social media websites have become very important impeachment tools for the opposing party. The credibility of the plaintiff will be shattered if he or she is caught on the internet running, jogging, or any other physical activities if in the lawsuit they are claiming injuries that will affect this aspect of life.
A recent case shows the ability of the defense to use these websites as evidence to impeach the credibility of the plaintiff(s). In McMiller v. HummingBird Speedway, Inc. the victim filed suit against the defendant for rear ending him during a cool down lap following a July 7, 2007 stock car race. The plaintiff alleged substantial injuries including possible permanent impairment, loss and impairment of general health, strength, and inability to enjoy certain pleasures of life. As the discovery process progressed, the defendants of the law suit discovered pictures and comments from a fishing trip and attendance to the Daytona 500 race in Florida. The Court in the case held that this information was public information and could be used in trial against the victim. The Court also allowed the defendants to receive the login information for the plaintiff to search for any other post or tweets concerning the fishing trip and racing adventure in Florida. Smoking guns such as these pictures or comments will severely affect your case. This is why it is necessary to have an experienced New Orleans attorney on your side to navigate you through these issues that can affect your case.
Many people want to argue in cases such as these that the 1st or 4th amendment can exclude information on these social media websites from being used in the courtroom. People are granted the right to free speech, but people forget that their comments on these internet sites find their way into public spaces. No matter how innocent the post can be they still can be used against the plaintiff if it impeaches the person’s credibility. For arguments under the Fourth Amendment the main issue turns to whether the users of these social media websites have a reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to information submitted to these websites. Many users argue that the privacy settings utilized on the social websites does not reveal such information to the world at large and actually do have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Others argue that once you post something it will end up on other pages which in turn makes it known to the public. This is a very important issue which will be battled in the court system for a long time.
Therefore, it is very important to remember that these daily updates about one’s life can and will be used against you in your lawsuit. When there is so much money on the line the defense will want to use anything possible to impeach the credibility of the victim and deny their claims. This is the reason why a personal injury victim needs the help of an experienced attorney to help through the legal jungle that has been created. Since 1997, Cliff Cardone has sat as a Judge, Ad Hoc, in Juvenile Court, Traffic Court, as well as Municipal Court in New Orleans. As such, he has a broad range of experience and is fully capable of handling a variety of legal cases. The Cardone Law Firm has successfully managed all types of personal injury cases, including but not limited to: car accidents, trucking accidents, wrongful death and survival cases, medical malpractice claims, nursing home negligence cases, and DUI/DWIs. If you, a loved one, or a friend has suffered any type of injury due to the fault of another, Mr. Cardone and his professional legal assistants at the Cardone Law Firm can help. With an office located in New Orleans, the Cardone Law Firm is able to serve clients statewide. Phone Cardone now for effective legal assistance at 504-522-3333 as well as a free in person consultation concerning your case.