Category Legal Affairs

Lawyer: Why you should avoid social media altogether if you have a medical malpractice claim

21 October 2020 DSC Attorneys

It may seem harmless but you should avoid social media altogether if you’re involved in a medical malpractice claim. There have been cases when claims have been compromised because of seemingly innocuous social media posts.

This is according to Kirstie Haslam, partner at DSC Attorneys, who says that during a medical malpractice claim, you need to prove that a medical practitioner or institution was at fault for injuring you.

“Naturally, the defence’s job is to try to discredit your claim and the defence will look at your social media accounts to try to undermine the claim,” Haslam explains. “If there’s anything posted that can be used to undermine the claim, it can be submitted by the defence as evidence that your claim is false or exaggerated.”

She adds that it is worthwhile to remember, that social media posts are – depending on their privacy settings – considered public record. “Deleting posts that could relate to your claim during the case can be viewed as tampering with evidence by the court,” she adds.

Haslam advises that it’s better to avoid social media completely. If you can’t, she says here’s what not to do on social media platforms for the duration of the case:

• don’t post any information about the case and its progress
• don’t delete any social media posts while the case is on-going, in case it appears that you’re hiding information
• don’t friend anyone you don’t know well
• don’t post about upcoming events, holidays or outings.

Examples of how social media activity can harm a personal injury claim:

She says that social media posts can be used to prove your injuries aren’t as bad as you claim.

“They can also be used to disprove emotional distress related to your injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety,” she adds.

In a real case, Haslam says that a woman who claimed that injuries from a car accident left her unable to dance was denied her claim because her Facebook page showed pictures of her dancing that were posted after the accident. The pictures were submitted as evidence that her claim was exaggerated.

She cites another example, where a woman injured her back due to a faulty desk chair and claimed that the injury led to a loss of enjoyment in life. The opposing legal team used a profile picture of her smiling and her use of smiling emojis to undermine her claim and gain access to her private social media posts.

In another case involving a wrongful termination and gender discrimination matter, the defence tried to use the number of happy birthday messages a woman received on Facebook as proof that she wasn’t suffering from isolation and anxiety after being fired, as she claimed.

For malpractice cases Haslam says that it is worthwhile seeking the help from an attorney that specializes in personal injury claims that has a medico-legal team with extensive experience in handling medical malpractice claims.

“They can assess your claim, help prepare supporting evidence and represent you in legal proceedings, giving you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve,” she concludes.

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