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The Dangers of Social Media ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE HELD AGAINST YOU

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Apply the highest privacy settings.

Even with the highest privacy settings, you should always write or post items with the assumption that it will be open to the public.

Do not post anything about meetings with your lawyers or staff members. This can result in a challenge to the attorney-client privilege.

Do not post anything about your case.

Do not answer any questions about the facts of the case or how you are feeling.

Be very selective about who you “friend” or link with.

Do not allow anyone to become a “friend” on an account unless you are absolutely sure you know the person.

Refrain from using social media sites as much as possible while your case is pending. The more you use the sites, the more likely it is you will accidentally post something damaging to your case.

Protect Yourself Social media sites are a great way to connect with family and friends. But if you have been injured and have filed or are considering filing a lawsuit, your social media activity may be used against you. If you have public social media accounts on sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, or LinkedIn, you need to be aware that whatever you post on those sites is not private and may be subject to discovery by the defendants in your case. Internet and social media security and discretion are important to you even if you are not actively pursuing a legal remedy. The personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk urge you to please take caution online, as whatever you write or post can fall into the hands of the defendant, their insurance company or their attorneys to unfairly attack the validity of your claim. It is common practice for defendants, insurance companies and attorneys to obtain information from social media sites, most times without your knowledge or permission. To protect yourself, we encourage you to follow the 10 tips for using social media that we have shared above.


Do not forward any e-mails from our office to anyone else.

Forwarding our e-mails or sharing our communications of any kind can result in waiver of the attorney-client privilege.

Think before you post.

Sometimes, what people post on social media sites does not actually reflect what they are doing, but rather what they believe sounds good. This “posed” posting can be very damaging to your claim. As with photos, do not post any status updates about drinking or taking part in a physical activity that is inconsistent with your claim.

Be very discrete about any photos that you post.

Photographs showing physical activity inconsistent with your claims can be very damaging to your case. What seems perfectly harmless can be used against you. Do not post photos of yourself drinking or taking part in other activities that the defendant, insurance company or attorneys can use to paint you in an unfavorable light to a jury.

Do not visit any insurance websites or participate in blogs, chat rooms or message boards.

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Do not send e-mails regarding your case to anyone except your attorneys.

There is no “unsend” button. It is very important that you do not send any e-mails to friends or family about your condition or activities. E-mails often contain emotional content that you may find difficult to explain or may be inconsistent with your recollection if you are deposed later in the case. Also, the defense may try to subpoena the e-mails from your friends or family members. If it is absolutely necessary for you to communicate with a friend or family member, keep the communications to what is essential and generally try to communicate verbally. Anyone you communicate with could be subpoenaed.


Social Network Info Facebook Do you have an account? Yes

No

Name or URL associated with the account?

MySpace Do you have an account? Yes

No

Name or URL associated with the account?

Twitter Do you have an account? Yes

No

Name or URL associated with the account?

LinkedIn Do you have an account? Yes

No

Name or URL associated with the account?

Other Social Network Site Name of the website? Name or URL associated with the account?

Client Acknowledgement Regarding Social Media Client understands that, given the transparency of information disseminated via the Internet, any information that Client puts on social networking sites (including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google Plus and MySpace) may be relevant to Client’s case. Therefore, client agrees to abide by the recommendations listed above. Client will use discretion in the use of the Internet and will review their social media settings and connections.

Signature of Client

Date


FLIP OVER to Fill Out the Social Media Information and Client Acknowledgement


Social Media & Today’s Legal System At Elk & Elk, we have seen an increase in the use of electronic surveillance by the insurance companies, investigators and defense attorneys to embarrass and humiliate claimants, or to claim that your injury was exaggerated or even caused by something other than the incident related to your claim. Insurance companies have successfully used such information – even those considered innocent, harmless jokes between private “friends” – to convince a judge or jury that a plaintiff has been dishonest. You should assume that the defendant, the insurance company and the attorneys are looking for social media activity that might paint an unflattering picture of you. Also, you need to be aware that the defendant, insurance company and attorneys may request access to all information contained within your home computers and laptop hard drives. They also may subpoena information from Internet service providers. Internet and social media security consultants recommend that you review the contents of your social network sites and that you review your “friends” or “connections” and keep only those that you know and trust. Always be aware of what you say or post, including photographs, in any format on your computer or on the Internet. Don’t let your social media activity damage your chances to receive the compensation you deserve.

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Dangers of Social Media