Statistics consistently show that around four in five Americans have some form of social media profile to share life events, connect with friends and family and communicate and express themselves online. Naturally, this number will include many consumers, such as yourself. While people find many benefits to social media, using it during a pending consumer lawsuit can prove disastrous. The defendant could use what you post online to disprove your case against them. For more information on why you should avoid social media during a consumer lawsuit, please read on, then contact an experienced California consumer lawyer today.
Why should you not use social media during a pending consumer lawsuit in California?
Social media is not as private as you may think. Even if you crank up your privacy settings, a diligent investigator on the defendant’s side may gain access to your pages. Should they do so, they might find the following evidence:
Your content contradicts your testimony:
You should expect that the defendant can and will use everything at their disposal to discredit your case. Without realizing it, your posts may damage your claim. For instance, if you claim that you do everything possible to protect your personal information, but openly post vast amounts of it online, the defendant will challenge your claim. When you file a lawsuit, you must always be completely honest about your losses.
Comments from family and friends:
Even the content that witnesses post on social media can hurt your case. They might contradict your claims about your damages, or make statements about how much money you hope to win through your case.
The admissibility of social media posts in court:
While social media posts are not automatically admissible in court, the court may render them admissible if it determines the posts follow California Rules of Evidence. Typically, California courts categorize out-of-court statements as inadmissible hearsay. However, they routinely make exceptions for the statements of a party. When you are involved in a consumer lawsuit, your statements to others outside of court are admissible against you because you are a party to the case. In that scenario, the court will count your social media posts as statements. They may also admit statements by family and friends on social media if they contradict the same person’s testimony in court.
Can you use social media safely during a consumer lawsuit?
While you should stop using social media altogether, you may have legitimate reasons for continued use. In which case, we offer the following tips:
- Put on the strictest privacy settings
- Go through your friends list and remove anyone you do not know outside of social media
- Never discuss legal problems or anything regarding your case online
- Do not post photos, videos or check-ins of yourself
- Ask your friends to not post or tag you in any posts
- Assume the defendant will see anything you post
Speak with one of our skilled Los Angeles, California attorneys if you have any further questions.
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