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Advice - Legal Issues and Social Media


What To Do and Not Do When Involved in a Legal Matter

Our advice is pretty simple. If you are involved in a legal matter such as divorce, criminal, DWI, personal injury or workers' compensation, the best practice is to avoid mentioning it on social media sites,

Think about it. If you have a personal injury matter, the goal of the insurance company is to pay you as little as possible. The insurance adjuster is most likely going to Google you, check out your Facebook or MySpace profile, look through Twitter, etc. to find information that will prove that your injury is not as serious as you say. A photo of you working or engaged in recreational pursuits may not help your case if you are claiming a personal injury matter. The same is true for a Workers' Compensation issue.

If you are involved in a divorce and seeking custody of your children, a post on Facebook discussing the downside of a new relationship or trashing your to-be-ex is exactly what your spouse's attorney is looking for. One survey of Family Law professionals indicated that 60% of domestic cases involve social media posts.

Being involved in a criminal or DUI / DWI issue and posting a photo of yourself surrounded by beer bottles or commenting on the legalization of marijuana is exactly what the prosecutor is looking to use against you. They could order that any posts be produced or have your computer's hard drive examined for specific information.

Whatever the case, your social media profiles and internet presence can be a good or bad reflection on you. Photos, status updates and comments may seriously harm any legal matter you have if you fail to show discretion when using social media.

We suggest you do the following:

1. Make sure the privacy settings on your social media accounts are set to exclude anyone but close friends from seeing your posts. This, however, does not provide 100% assurance that your posts will not be shared and get into the hands of the wrong person.

2. Do not discuss your matter at all. Remember the words "what you say can and will be used against you." If you need to communicate with someone, call them.

3. Avoid email & texting. It is a form of documentation that is used more and more in court cases.

4. Do not post photos. What you think is an innocent photo could be just what the opposing party is looking for.

Even if you are not involved in a legal matter, you need to exercise discretion. A developing concern in the area of employment law is that employers are now asking potential employees to provide permission to access their social media accounts to get a glimpse into your life outside of work. Beware of what you release into the social sphere, it could come back to haunt you.

If you are involved in a legal matter in the Granite State, an experienced New Hampshire lawyer can advise you on social media conduct relating to your criminal, DUI, personal injury, workers' compensation or family / divorce matter.

Disclaimer: This publication and the information included in it are not intended to serve as legal advice or a substitute for consultation with an attorney. Specific legal issues, concerns and conditions always require the advice of appropriate legal professionals

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