Posted On: January 16, 2011 by Watts & Herring, LLC

Social Networking Profiles Can Help Or Hurt Your Case

The LaBovick Injury Law Blog has posted an article on how social networking websites has impacted how personal injury litigation works.

If someone has sustained personal injury in an accident, their social networking profile should reflect it, if their case is to be taken seriously. The article mentions a specific lawsuit, Romano vs. Steelcase, which was an important case in how it changed the way information someone puts on their social networking profile can be used by the law.

According to motions that were filed in the Suffolk County, New York case, Kathleen Romano's MySpace and Facebook profiles included pictures that showed the plaintiff - who had supposedly sustained neck and back injuries due to a fall from her office chair at Steelcase - smiling happily outside and doing other things that should have been impossible due to her injuries. The defendant, her employer, subpoenaed Facebook and MySpace for full access to her profiles, included deleted content. Facebook refused, citing the Stored Communications Act. Romano refused to consent, and the matter went before the court.

Ultimately, the courts ruled in favor of Steelcase and granted it access to Romano's online profiles. Part of the reason for that decision lied in the fact that several of the public portions of Romano's profiles showed evidence that contradicted with her supposedly bed-bound state.

This is just one example of several times that social networking profiles have hurt someone's personal injury case. It's important to remember that no matter what your privacy settings are, nothing is truly private once you put it on the internet. Social networking is still a new type of evidence to use in court cases; however, as the websites continue to explode in popularity, profiles being used as evidence will surely increase as well.