In today’s digitally connected world, social media plays a bigger role than ever before.
Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter offer their users ways to interact with their friends and the world in an online setting. These methods include sharing stories, short-form videos, and posting pictures on their feed.
With the growing use of social media platforms, it can also play a vital role in the United States court system. Social media can be used as evidence against another party in both civil and criminal court cases.
For instance, in the case of Allwine v. State (A22-1378), investigators used evidence into her murderer’s (Stephen Allwine) social media accounts, which included information about his life and the social media conversations that Stephen was having before killing his wife.
Based on this real-life example, it’s important to understand how much of an impact social media can have on a personal injury case. But what role does social media play in a personal injury case specifically? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
It Can Be Used As Evidence Collection
As mentioned previously, social media can be used as a crucial piece of evidence in personal injury cases.
For example, if there was a deadly car accident and someone posted it on social media, lawyers can use that video as evidence for a car accident lawsuit. Therefore, if a video of a serious car accident is shown, that can be shown as quantifiable evidence to determine how much your car is worth and the damages that were sustained.
On January 15th, 2024, there was a car accident in Washington at 4:30am where there were five people that died due to the negligence of a drunk driver who was behind the wheel, who perished in the accident as well.
It turns out that the drunk driver was actually a mother with children, and hours before the crash, likely in the middle of the night, she posted a video to Facebook Live. The video shows her in a drunken state with her children and friends around, emphasizing how she is in an ultimate battle in her life.
An example such as this one goes to show what can truly happen after such a tragic event and how social media can prove as a critical tool of evidence after a car accident such as this one.
It Can Establish Quantifiable Damages
When you use social media as evidence, it can also help establish quantifiable damages. If a lawyer sees the video of an accident, it can help lawyers determine how much a vehicle is worth, as well as establishing damages for emotional distress.
Often after an accident, injury victims face a lifetime of medical bills, needing a new vehicle, and a lifetime of pain and suffering.
But with the right social media evidence, that can put a number on how much someone’s case is worth.
It Can Impact The Jury In A Trial
One of the more controversial aspects of social media use in a personal injury case is how much it can impact a jury in a court proceeding.
In a general sense, jurors are required to put their opinion solely on the evidence that is presented in a court of law, and not relying on any outside information for answers.
However, if a juror finds out information about the case on social media, an individual may potentially be influenced by this information, leading to a more impartial jury in place.
An instance where the jury may have been impartial was in the case of the murder of Ahmoud Arbery, since many people have already seen multiple media reports of the footage of his murder.
Furthermore, in high profile cases, the jury selection usually takes a longer amount of time than anticipated since they want individuals who know nothing about the facts and circumstances of the case.
The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media During a Personal Injury Case
In a personal injury case, it might be tempting for you to post the photos of the accident, or even speak poorly of the individual who may have hurt you. However, it’s important to know that anything you post online will be used against you in a court of law.
So, it’s usually best to avoid posting content about a serious accident until a satisfactory settlement has been reached on your behalf.
If you are unsure about what to post and what exactly not to post, it’s best to consult with a a trusted Bellevue, Washington car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you determine what is best for moving forward with your case, as well as helping you if you’ve been injured in a serious accident.
Social Media Has A Multifaceted Role In Injury Cases
In a general sense, social media has a multifaceted role in personal injury cases, as the use of social media can:
- Be Used As Evidence
- Establish Quantifiable Damages
- Impact the Jury in A Court Proceeding
There are also general guidelines on how to use social media responsibility, which include not posting any information about the injury online. By following these steps, you can stay informed on how much of an impact social media will have on you.