If you are thinking of bringing a lawsuit, be mindful of the latest ploy by the defense bar and insurance carriers: they want your Facebook posts.
Say, for example, you are bringing a malpractice suit against a doctor whose misdiagnosis has led to a delay in the diagnosis of your cancer. The lawyers for the physician will likely snoop around to see if you have a Facebook, My Space, or Twitter account. The lawyers for the doctor will look to see if you have posted anything that might impact your case. Do any of your status updates suggest that you are living a normal life? Have you posted an embarrassing photo? If you post it, they will find it.
Don’t think that you can keep your posts secret simply by changing the privacy settings on your Facebook account. Some courts have actually entered Orders allowing the defense attorneys access to log-in information and passwords. When this issue has arisen in our cases, we have vigorously fought it, and, so far, we have been successful. As far as we are concerned, a doctor who fails to correctly diagnose his patient or who otherwise commits medical malpractice should not be allowed to compound his error by violating his patient’s privacy. Certainly, a doctor who commits malpractice would not be given unfettered access to every letter ever written by his patient, or every e-mail ever sent by the patient. Yet, this is exactly what some courts are allowing when they give insurance company lawyers the key to your Facebook account.
If you are bringing a medical malpractice action, or any claim for personal injuries, be mindful of what you post. Anything you say may be used against you. The lesson is simple: if you don’t want a jury to see it, don’t post it.
Paul Lauricella (Google+)