Don’t expect privacy on Facebook, Court Rulings Show

If you, like so many Americans, enjoy sharing your life on a social networking sites  like Facebook, Twitter or MySpace you should know that your postings may not be protected by privacy laws.

And, if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, what you write and photos you post could become evidence in your case.

A recent article by Reuters Legal explains that defense lawyers in personal-injury cases, in particular, are finding social networks to be a rich source of potentially exculpatory evidence. In one recent case, a New York woman who claimed to be bedridden after falling off a defective chair showed up in family Facebook photos smiling happily in front of her house.

While you do have a right to privacy for your private postings on social networks, it can be overcome during litigation, experts say.

Even if you create settings to limit your postings to just friends, judges nationwide have been allowing defense attorneys to view the pages anyway.

According to Reuters, “A personal-injury case in Erie, Pennsylvania, shows how online musings intended as private can now make their way into litigation. In 2007, a racecar driver named Bill McMillen sued the owners of a local track, Hummingbird Speedway, claiming that he was seriously injured and lost “the enjoyment of life” as a result of an accident on the track. The lawyer for the speedway, Gary Bax, said he checked out McMillen on Facebook and found comments and photos suggesting that after the accident, McMillen went on a fishing trip to Florida and attended the Dayton 500.”

Read the full article online HERE.

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