Social Media Do’s and Don’ts
During litigation, there are specific concerns regarding social media and personal injury proceedings. If you (or any of your clients) interact on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., at no time should you ever post comments about an ongoing case. This includes statements relating to injuries. Instruct your clients not to post photographs depicting strenuous exertion in action or any other compromising activity that could shed a negative perception.
Personal injury litigants should regulate their privacy settings to only permit friends and other close connections access to their personal information. Another option on Facebook is to use a nickname. This will prevent others from searching your client’s name. The procedure is simple. 1. On the upper right corner of Facebook there is a triangle icon. Click that. 2. Click Settings. 3. Edit Name.
There is no doubt that the opposing counsel (or insurance company representative) will conduct a search for any information that can be used against your client. The next time you are retained by a new client, Google your clients’ name and see what results come up. You may uncover some issues that could be problematic for the case – if so, it is better to learn about the new information in the early stages of the case. Also, do a search on the defendant, including on social media sites — sometimes one can unearth some very helpful information.
Never instruct clients to delete any information from their site, as this could be considered willful destruction of evidence. Here is an interesting article about a Virginia attorney who was suspended for five years after advising his client to delete Facebook photos.