Facebook As Evidence In Buffalo Personal Injury Cases.

July 15, 2013

Buffalo personal injury lawyers have seen a great increase in requests to review an injured person’s Facebook page or other social media sites.  These requests are made because the defense hopes to find information useful when arguing that the person is not as injured as claimed.

Whether the defense in personal injury cases is entitled to social media information is a still developing area of law.  Fortunately for the privacy rights of injured people, the courts appear to be leaning towards restricting defense access to private social media information unless they can show that there is a reasonable possibility of finding information relevant to the case.  A good example of this is seen in the case of Richards v. Hertz Corp., 100 AD3d 728 (2d Dep’t 2012).  In that case, the defense requested access to the Facebook records of two different injured parties.  One of the parties had claimed that her injuries made it difficult for her to play sports and became worse in the cold, but the defense found photos of her skiing on the public section of her Facebook page.  While they found no such potentially relevant information on the other injured person’s Facebook page, they requested access to the full contents of both parties’ Facebook accounts.

The court ruled that while the trial court should review the Facebook page of the party who had been skiing to see if there was any other relevant information, the defense had not shown that doing the same for the other party was reasonably likely to produce relevant information.  As a result, the defense’s request was granted for one party’s Facebook page but denied for the other.

If you have suffered a personal injury, you should be aware that the defense may be examining what you post on social media sites.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call us 716-400-0000.