In my practice and in previous blogs, I frequently warn Michigan auto accident attorneys that defense lawyers hired by insurance companies are looking at what car accident victims are posting on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Classmates.com and blogs. I recently came across the agenda for a large insurance defense firm seminar that drives this point home. One of the topics the defense lawyers and insurance adjusters discussed was, “Using Internet Social Networking Sites as a Discovery Tool.” Basically, they ironed out how to use Facebook, MySpace, blogs and Internet sources for discovery purposes.
I make this point time and time again because unknowing clients can make innocent mistakes that can easily destroy a case. For example, our attorneys have seen clients who are disabled with brain injuries or herniated discs from truck accidents posting pictures of themselves running or skiing. These pictures are completely innocent; taken before someone was ever injured. But the allegation of fraud by defense lawyers can be enough for suspicious jurors who are ready to assume the worst about a person.
To prevent such a situation, I always advise clients to avoid using MySpace, Facebook and personal blogs. If this Internet activity can’t be avoided, I tell them to think about how what you post can be used against you in a personal injury car accident lawsuit.
My advice to auto accident lawyers remains the same – take 10 minutes and Google your client. Remind the client to always tell the truth, no matter how embarrassing or difficult it may seem. There is absolutely no reason the client cannot disclose something, and then explain the circumstances behind it.
A client also should have his attorney review all of his accounts and even keep tabs on the friends’ social networking sites to make sure they’re not posting messages or images that could be unflattering to a group of strangers. Remember, defense lawyers can learn what a client’s loved ones are saying and posting about them as well, especially if they’re asked to testify.
Finally, keep in mind the best way to avoid mistakes in a lawsuit is through excellent communication between the auto accident attorney and client.
Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in serious car and truck accident injury cases and automobile insurance no-fault litigation. Steve has received the largest jury verdict for an automobile accident case in Michigan in four of the past seven years, including 2008. For more information about Michigan Auto Law, please read our law firm quick facts.
– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Thomas Hawk
Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights.