Is Social Media Changing The Way We Think About Lawsuits?

The complex world of civil liability has always required innovation and creativity to locate and secure the facts needed for a successful day in court. For decades, those methods have remained somewhat unchanged.

But in a new day, we need to have a new approach. While there’s still great importance attached to the use of experts and even just good old gumshoe work, there is a whole new realm in social media that is reinventing how lawsuits are viewed and handled. This is especially true for Pritzker Oslen Attorneys, a firm that handles a wide array of personal injury cases and uses every available tool for successful resolutions.

One of the newest tools in the workbench is social media. The amazing quantity of detail, along with the platform’s logging ability, makes posts of all kinds very helpful in legal situations. There are several reasons why.

Some People Have No Filter

One of the first things some people do after a major life incident is to post on social media, and sometimes those life incidents are rather personal for such a public venue. This has repercussions in two different ways.

First, people create their own liability by posting online. When a restaurant employee has a long history of posting about reckless sanitation practices at work or a disdain for their customers, it can prove very important when one of those patrons experiences food-borne illness. With a date and time stamp on every such statement, they are priceless in court.

Second, the musings of a potential litigant can elicit a response from supportive, knowledgeable friends who encourage them to appropriate steps. A simple “Back is killing me after I fell outside the store this morning” can lead people to convince the poster to seek medical treatment that could ultimately preserve his or her rights to compensation.

Evidence Can Be Everywhere

Key to any good legal action is relevant and compelling evidence. When there is a need for evidence that some type of communication or contact took place, the burden of proof is heavy. For example, there’s no way to settle a “he said, she said” dilemma if there are no other witnesses.

Social media has changed that. There are now precedents in place that can establish social media communication as an admissible form of contact between people. Given the utterly un-erasable nature of social media, it’s clear that such court decisions could have huge implications in both civil and criminal law.

In addition, the photos a party takes at an accident scene can hold critical evidence that otherwise might not have been available to investigators. Once those are posted on social media, they can be accessed and stored quickly for later use.

Witnesses Are Plentiful

Witness testimony is always so much more powerful when it is corroborated by other people, especially when those other parties don’t stand to gain anything from legal action.

For example, if a person is out walking a public street, is bitten by a dog, and later posts about the incident on social media, friends and acquaintances may reply that they have previously seen the dog unrestrained and maybe have even been attacked themselves. These statements help establish that not only does the animal have a history of problematic behavior, it also has a history of not being properly controlled by its owner. Those two facts greatly reduce the defendant’s ability to deny that the dog might be dangerous.

People who have suffered injuries or illnesses due to the errors of others are often left in very challenging circumstances. They need every possible boost to their case to get the outcome they deserve. Social media have done wonders for these victims to get the resolution they are owed. Resourceful law firms can utilize the evidence that these unique–and free–outlets provide to help them develop a strong case for their clients.

Photo credit: afagen via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA



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