Social media and lawsuits are not something most people think about. Texting, posting on Facebook and interfacing with other social media networks seems like second nature today. Yet, not that long ago a woman’s post on Facebook was a pivotal factor in losing her case.
Facebook Post Establishes a Different Statute of Limitations
According to an article published in The Morning Call , a woman suffering from Lyme disease was misdiagnosed as having multiple sclerosis. Under the Pennsylvania statute of limitations, she had two years to file a civil lawsuit to sue for misdiagnosis.
The woman argued that she did not know about Lyme disease until she tested positive for it in 2010, which was nine years after she had first developed the symptoms. She claimed that the statute of limitations began to run when she was diagnosed.
However, she had posted on Facebook for years, saying that she thought she had Lyme disease. Her posts provided evidence that undermined her own argument about when the statute of limitations began.
Other Instances Where Social Media Worked Against a Claimant
Slate.com published an article that tells the story of a Long Island high school girl, 15 years old, who was the victim of a teacher’s sexual abuse. Subsequently, four other female students came forward and alleged similar abuse.
After the criminal case resolved, the girl’s family filed a civil suit against the teacher, the school district and school officials based on damages of:
- Repeated sexual injury and assault
- Nightmares and sleep deprivation
- Emotional distress
- Alienation of affections
- Loss of enjoyment of life
However, opposing counsel for the school investigated the girl’s life and discovered photos on Facebook of her hanging out with her boyfriend, working at a veterinary hospital, rock climbing and drinking with friends.
The judge ordered the girl to turn over every photo, video, status update and wall message she had ever posted on Facebook. People often only post the happy moments on social media, and they may not disclose something like depression. However, Facebook worked against the plaintiff in this case where she sought damages based on a depressed emotional state.
Get Legal Help Early On
If you or a loved one believe you have cause for a lawsuit to seek damages, seek legal counsel as soon as possible and follow your attorney’s advice about posting on social media.
Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP focuses its practice primarily on personal injury cases.