The creation and evolution of social media and social networking sites have created a new debate within various areas of law, including medical malpractice, over what should and should not be considered “private.” Typically, any person involved in a medical malpractice or catastrophic injury case only has to produce documents and/or information that is directly relevant to their case, or anything that could lead to the discovery of relevant information.
Recently, we have seen an increase in the demands from opposing parties for us to provide our clients’ social media and social networking photographs and information. And not just their posts, but in some circumstances their log-in and password information as well!!
Is it truly an invasion of privacy to have to produce copies of photographs from your Instagram account, or social posts from your Facebook page, if you have shared these items with other people online? We believe these items should still be considered “private” items, since you are typically choosing who you want to share them with.
However, in order to protect yourselves, prior to filing a lawsuit you should make sure all of your social media and social networking profiles are set to their maximum privacy levels. You should also avoid posting anything negative about the facts surrounding the incident related to your potential lawsuit, or anything negative about any individuals, corporations, or facilities who you may end up bringing a lawsuit against.
Finally, avoid posting photographs of loved ones who may be involved in a future lawsuit. It is completely understandable to want to share your experiences and those of your loved ones with other friends and family, but those documents may end up being obtained by your opponents at a later time, and they will always try and use them against you in some manner. Remember that preserving your own privacy is always the best way to protect yourself!