Social media has become virtually a second life for most people today. People’s joys, tragedies, accomplishments, failures and opinion that get posted online, all make up for a digital footprint that we cannot erase nor control fully.
Social media posts are a snapshot in time without context. A person smiling in a family photo may look happy and whole, but behind the smile may be an accident victim just out of the hospital hiding her pain from an injury.
When you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, it is highly advisable to exercise caution in your use of social media. It is not unheard of for genuine victims losing in court because their social posts have been used as evidence against them.
Find out how social media posts, updates, location ‘check-in’s, pictures and videos can affect your personal injury claim. Any personal injury lawyer in Toronto will have words of caution about usage of social media while you are amid a claim.
Is social media content admissible as evidence before courts in Ontario?
Yes, all aspects of social media can be admitted as evidence before the Ontario Courts , so long as it can be shown to be relevant (material) to the pertinent details in the case. There have been numerous cases over the years in which social media content, from platforms such as Facebook, has been used as evidence against the injured party.
In the Leduc vs. Roman (2009 CanLII 6838 (ON SC)) case, the Superior Court of Ontario ruled that Facebook posts could now be considered as official ‘documents’ under the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure.
In 2018, in the Isacov vs. Schwartzberg (2018 ONSC 5933) the expectations of privacy for plaintiffs were lowered . In this specific case, the plaintiff’s foot was seriously injured by the defendant due to a car accident. She claimed millions of dollars in damages for losing her dancing career, being unable to run, wear heels and made her lose interest in her social life. However, the defence was able to procure photographs posted online of the plaintiff wearing heels and socializing from another person’s social media account.
The Defence can probe the claimant’s social media accounts and those of friends to find incriminating evidence.
What effects can social media evidence have on a personal injury claim?
Evidence gathered from social media is assessed on the same principles as any other evidence by the court. Of course, since this area of the law is not completely clear-cut, a Toronto personal injury lawyer may be able to argue it asinadmissible on your behalf. If you are worried your insurance claim may be affected by social media posts, contact a accident lawyer here at Pace Law Firm in Toronto immediately.
How social media can affect a personal injury claim
- The credibility of the victim can be brought into question
- Other evidence can be weakened by evidence retrieved from social media
- Posts, pictures, videos and any other social media activity can be construed as being contradicting to the plaintiff’s original claims
- A plaintiff’s claim for damages for pain and suffering can be dismissed entirely if their social media activity is showing proof that the claimant is in perfect health
- Evidence gathered from social media may unfairly cast the plaintiff in an unsympathetic light
Think this only happens if a claimant is lying? Defence lawyers could attempt to portray anything as contradictory evidence to discredit or weaken the plaintiff’s credibility in court and it would therefore affect their personal injury claim.
For plaintiffs considering or pursuing a personal injury claim the safest course of action would be to discontinue posting on their social profiles and even consider disabling them. Talk to a Toronto personal injury lawyer here at Pace Law Firm about your claim and let them give you proper guidance on how you should conduct yourself on social media during your claim process and protect yourself from unfair tactics.