Apr 14, 2024 | Articles

Doug Marcello

The prevalence of social media is indisputable. When there has been an accident, social media is an important litigation tool. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Check it early and often.
  • Accidents grab attention, so claimants may post about them long before considering litigation, providing both information and material for a defense attorney to cross-examine or impeach.
  • Updates and comments may be added or removed at any time by the claimant and others.
  1.  So, what are you looking for?
  • Anything related to this accident
  • Anything related to prior or subsequent accidents and injuries
  • Anything related to the claims being made, for example:

o   If the plaintiff is claiming a loss of income or earning capacity, look for any posts regarding income, work, or job prospects.

o   If the plaintiff is claiming a loss of life’s pleasures, look for pictures and posts about vacations, travels, celebrations, etc.

o   If the plaintiff is claiming an inability to do physical activities, look for content relating to their physical activities.

  1. Save it.
  • Once claimants speak to an attorney, they will likely be instructed to make their social media private.
  • Save or print content when you find it so it does not disappear forever –  screenshots work well for this.
  1. Tell your drivers.
  • Make sure drivers know to avoid posting ANYTHING on social media about the accident.
  • Tell drivers to check their privacy settings regularly.
  • Plaintiffs’ attorneys will look for anything they could show a jury that makes you look bad – even content that would seem irrelevant.
  • While admissibility can be fought, it is better to not have it out there.
  1. Other key points.
  • Never friend or otherwise reach out to plaintiffs to gain access to private portions of social media pages.
  • Check for relatives or friends of the plaintiff who may post additional relevant content.
  • Social media surveillance is cheap and can help to focus traditional surveillance if conducted.
  • If the information that is accessible to the public suggests that there may be more relevant private content, some Judges may require production of that private content in discovery.

About the Author


What it takes to advocate for legal abuse reform

Pamella De Leon The surge of nuclear verdicts – post-crash jury awards exceeding over $10 million – against trucking companies have sent shockwaves through the industry. Despite a decrease in fatal crashes, verdicts are increasing, according to a 2023 study by the...

ELD Mandate Comparison: Canada and the U.S.

Learn about the notable differences between the Canadian and US mandate rules. Mark Samber Canada’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate was adopted on June 12, 2019, and is effective for all federally-regulated carriers. The Canadian mandate closely follows the...

How to Get More Out of Commercial Driver Vehicle Inspections

Deborah Lockridge   When Tom Bray was in charge of safety at a motor carrier, a frustration was seeing drivers leave the yard with an easily correctable problem that could result in a violation or worse — but should have been found in a driver vehicle inspection...

When Must Truckers Complete a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report?

Deborah Lockridge A common misconception about driver vehicle inspection reports for truckers and other commercial drivers is that one is required at every pre-trip inspection. How often must a walk-around pre-trip inspection be conducted? Before every trip. How often...