How may social media content serve as evidence in a lawsuit?

Mobile devices make it easy to capture images or videos of an accident scene, but sharing them on the internet may complicate your personal injury claim. If you decide to post an image to social media, for example, it may possibly contradict the information about your accident contained in an official law enforcement report.

Any type of online data may serve as evidence if it relates to your lawsuit. An involved party might scour the internet to find your social media profiles and review the contents available online. As described by the American Bar Association, if materials appear to have relevance, a party to a suit may ask to introduce them to contradict a claim.

How do I know my online content may show up in court?

Anyone may see what you post online, even if you set your social media profile to “private.” Friends and family may take screenshots of your online images and share them with others, even if you did not intend for anyone else to see them. Some search engines may scrape your images and include them in search results without your knowledge.

The court, however, generally requires internet materials to go through the discovery process. A party to a lawsuit may need to prove that the allegedly relevant contents came from you, and that the information may help prove or reject the case.

What type of social media materials may prove helpful to my lawsuit?

The online content needs to show authenticity and back your claim. If a distracted driver caused your accident, for example, timestamps from images posted online may show that an upload occurred seconds before the collision. Coupled with evidence from other sources, the online materials you present may prove helpful to the outcome of your case.