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QUESTIONS ABOUT A RECENT PERSONAL INJURY?
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Social media is a popular way to keep friends and family updated on your life. However, the posts you make can, and often are, reviewed for evidence that might form part of your personal injury claim.  Insurance companies often scrutinize social media content to assess the true impact of an injury on an individual. For example, if your injury causes you difficulty with lifting heavy objects, a video or photograph showing you changing a tire may raise valid credibility concerns, even if you were capable of short bursts of lifting.  You might be questioned on how the photograph or video is consistent with your evidence about the accident causing limitations in your ability to lift.

 

A recent case illustrates this point.  In Armbruster v Nutting, 2024 ABKB 36, the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta was presented with social media evidence that was found to contradict the plaintiff’s accident-related complaints of ongoing pain and cognitive issues. Although there was some evidence presented at trial that the activities shown in the plaintiff’s social media posts were not inconsistent with his chronic pain condition, the court disagreed. The plaintiff was not seen in a positive light, and the trial decision clearly shows the court was skeptical of his claims.

 

Should you find yourself involved in a personal injury claim and are an avid user of social media, here are some tips to consider:

 

  • Please remember that whatever you post might be open to scrutiny. It is possible that your post might be introduced as evidence to convince a judge that your injuries are not significant. Posts can, and often are, taken out of context. A photograph might show that you helped someone move a couch. It will not show that it was painful to do so, or that you paid for it afterwards. The photograph would simply be evidence that you were capable of lifting. It exposes you to a possible argument that you must have been able to do so without any consequences.

 

  • Please avoid discussions about your personal injury claim on social media. If uncertain about the potential repercussions of a prior post, seeking advice from your lawyer or removing the post may be a wise course of action.

 

  • Watch out for friend requests from unfamiliar individuals. These requests might originate from private investigators seeking information.

 

  • Take control of your privacy settings on social media platforms. Most platforms offer users the ability to manage post visibility, with private accounts restricted to a select audience being a safer option. Adjusting privacy settings on platforms such as Facebook is a straightforward yet effective step, particularly for those with ongoing claims.

 

  • Exercise discretion when it comes to sharing images or videos of yourself. While it’s only natural to capture life’s highs and lows, this practice could prove disadvantageous during an injury claim.

 

In summary, restricting content that might cast doubt on your claim and adhering to these guidelines can contribute to a smoother legal process.

 

If you have any questions or comments on this, please feel free to contact the personal injury team at Pefanis Horvath. We welcome your call.

Constantine Pefanis