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Facebook: Your Friend or Foe while in a Lawsuit?

We all know that what we post on Facebook can have serious implications for our social lives – and even our professional lives. But did you know that your Facebook profile can also have serious implications for your lawsuit?

If you are claiming compensation for injury – whether a catastrophic brain injury or a broken toe – you must disclose all documents that are relevant to your action.

Facebook pictures, posts, and conversations are considered “documents”.

Is last week’s picture of you at a party really relevant to your car accident from a year ago? It could be. Your Facebook profile speaks volumes about your social life, your recreational activities, and – by extension – your ability to work. If you are claiming compensation for your inability to engage in such activities, Facebook data may be relevant.

If the insurance company’s lawyer has some evidence that your profile contains relevant information, the court may force production of this material.

But what about privacy?

This is what the court recently said about Facebook privacy:

[The plaintiff] permits some 200 ‘friends’ to view what he now asserts is private. This is a preposterous assertion especially given his testimony that only five of the 200 are close friends. (Frangione v. Vandongen, 2010 ONSC 2823).

So be mindful; those pictures of you and your friends may not accurately reflect your reality – or your pain. But the jury won’t know this and, as the popularity of Facebook demonstrates, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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