With the popularity of social media sites skyrocketing in recent years, the courts in New Jersey as well as elsewhere have just begun to address how and when social media content can be used for or against parties in civil court cases. According to a recent New Jersey Law Journal article, the courts are now beginning to weigh in on the discoverability and admissibility of social media posts from sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
While the issue of access is still a bit unclear in the Garden State, neighboring states such as New York and Pennsylvania are beginning to set precedents that the New Jersey courts may end up following.
As an example, suppose a plaintiff has filed a lawsuit for a personal injury and is seeking compensation for damages. However, during the time the plaintiff claimed to be injured, he/she posts pictures from a recent gym class depicting strenuous activity and exercise. Despite these posts being “private” within Facebook, the courts are now beginning to determine the relevancy of such items and how they can be used as evidence.
Prior to the social media age, private investigators hired by insurance companies would typically be asked to acquire this type of evidence for the courts. However, with many individuals now sharing every intricate detail of their lives on Facebook and Twitter, the lines between invasion of privacy and relevancy are now being drawn in cyberspace.
As a personal injury law firm that represents clients in all types of accident and injury cases, we always advise our clients to be truthful in everything they say or do following an accident and to stay off social media sites.
In light of recent rulings and the way things appear to be headed, it should always be assumed that whatever you share on social media could very well be used against you in your case. Always use good judgment and refrain from posting updates, videos or photos that you will have to explain down the road. The last thing you want is a seemingly innocent Facebook update being used to deny you your rights as an accident/injury victim.
For more information or if you have any questions on this matter, feel free to contact our law firm at 973-325-7711.