Electronically stored evidence of social media usage is a powerful tool that can be used to support or undermine claims and defenses. Social media creates an online journal or diary of another’s life, activities, and relationships intended to be viewed by others privately or publicly. Social media evidence can be effective particularly in claims where the Claimant alleges life altering injuries rendering him or her permanently and totally disabled. Finding and acquiring evidence of social media usage and having it admitted into evidence present challenges that are being tempered by Claimant’s right to privacy in the judicial systems.
The term “social media” is used as a broad descriptive umbrella for a methodology of substantive communications and storage data. One of the hurdles to admitting social media into evidence is the wide net that is cast by the term “social media” and what it means to access a Claimant’s “social media.” Like all evidence, social media can have many uses in litigation. For example, an attorney may seek to admit evidence of a Claimant with a shoulder injury who is seen on Facebook casting a fishing line or lifting weights.
Lawyers who seek to use social media as evidence at trial face a number of hurdles obtaining social media, having the evidence admitted at trial, determining the relevance of social media evidence, and authenticating the evidence. The good news is, more courts are allowing social media as evidence at trial where the information is obtained from the user’s publicly accessible social media page. Many admissibility questions hinge on whether the user has updated privacy settings or whether the information was available for public viewing. Social media can be a powerful resource for Employers and Carriers who can utilize it as a tool in investigation and resolution of claims.
For more information about the use of social media in investigation and resolution of Louisiana workers compensation claims, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.