facebook-logoYou’re being watched.

At least, you are if you have a Facebook account – as only a bazillion or so people do. And I don’t just mean watched by your Facebook “friends.” You could also be offering your life and habits up to people who don’t have your best interests at heart.

Most people don’t realize this, but if you have a Facebook account, the default privacy settings allow people who live in your region to see your page EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS.

What does this have to do with personal injury law? If you have a personal injury case, you might want to be very careful about what you post to Facebook. Stop and consider – do you want everything you post to be viewable by the insurance company’s legal team?

The Facebook flaw

I was made aware of this Facebook issue by a fellow personal injury attorney. A a friend of his who is a defense attorney told him how he had participated in a case where the plaintiff claimed severe mental and physical problems. The plaintiff claimed he: “had no life, cannot do anything, doesn’t go out of the house except to the doctor or to work, is depressed, is physically limited, used to love to dance and play sports and now does neither at all anymore, has not gone outside the state of New York since his accident, etc etc.”

This defense attorney then changed her county of residence on his Facebook profile (Wonder if that was unethical conduct on the part of this lawyer?) so that he could secretly view the plaintiff’s Facebook page without being his “friend” – and lo and behold: There were recent photos of the plaintiff dancing at a wedding and playing soccer last summer. He’d also posted lots of information about his activities and feelings. His case was blown by his own Facebook profile.

This plaintiff was dishonest, and as a personal injury attorney I don’t want anything to do with representing dishonest people. In fact, I tell my clients, I can always deal with the truth but a single lie can kill an otherwise good case.

The point of this post is to be totally honest with your injury lawyer because it is important to be aware that insurance companies will use EVERY means available to weaken your personal injury case.

Check the Privacy settings on your Facebook account (find them under Settings on the right side of the top toolbar). You can fine-tune them to make sure the people you trust get to track your life – NOT the people you don’t.

Thanks for reading,
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com