Think your Facebook and MySpace accounts are private…. Think again.
It now seems as though if you bring a case to court seeking compensation for injuries someone else caused you, you may be forced to permit that person’s insurance company lawyer’s to see what you have been posting on Facebook and MySpace. Whatever happened to the notion of privacy?
Recently, a Supreme Court judge in Suffolk County granted a request by the Insurance company’s lawyers to obtain access to the injured person’s current and historical Facebook and MySpace accounts, including all deleted pages and related information. Are you kidding me ! Talk about a fishing expedition for the sole purpose of trying to find something, anything, to smear the person their client injured, with the sole goal of trying to escape having to fairly compensate them.
Think of all the things that could be used completely out of context against you. A picture of you smiling to show that you are really not in pain. Who cares when it was taken or whether you happened to have had a “good” day when the picture was taken. How about a picture of you dancing at your wedding to prove your back, knee, etc. is fine and how dare you think the responsible party should compensate you. Of course they won’t mention the pain medication you had to take before, or how you paid dearly the next day, no one wants to hear those details. What about pictures of a trip you took that was planned before the accident? Of course it will be argued that people that are “really” injured don’t travel. It doesn’t matter how long you saved for that trip, or that you haven’t had a vacation in 2 years because of the economy, or that when you went away you really just relaxed and didn’t do the things you really wanted to do because of the pain. Nope, none of that will be spoken of.
Oh sure, once they parade this stuff in front of the jury, they say you will get your turn to “explain” what it all really means. Forget it. It’s over. You are now the bad, un-injured person looking to win the “lottery” against the poor, defenseless person that just happened to hit you in the rear, totalling your car. This is just wrong. Too many people with legitimate claims and serious injuries are going to get hurt by this, and if they can’t get the rightful compensation for the future medical treatment they will require from the poor insurance companies, guess what? They are going to go to Medicaid or Medicare for help, hmmm, who pays for that?
The playing field in accident/injury cases is already more than fair to the insurance companies. They have attorneys, investigators, doctors, and unlimited resources at their disposal. They are permitted access to basically all of your medical records, their attorneys get to ask you questions under oath, their doctors get to examine you, and their investigators get to secretly photograph and videotape you. Do they really need to see everything on your private Facebook/MySpace accounts as well? What about the privacy of the other people’s postings on the accounts?
I don’t know, maybe after 20 years of representing people injured in accidents and dealing with the insurance companies, my views may be skewed a bit. But if I were you, I would be careful about what you post on any Social networking site, you never know who will be allowed to see it.