FAQ Friday with Gregory Herrman & Scott Staha | Corpus Christi Personal Injury Lawyers

Mr. Herrman and Mr. Staha discuss how social media can ruin so personal injury claim. Mr. Herrman also announces the scholarship winners. If you liked this video, please like and subscribe to our channel.

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Transcript

buddy welcome again to frequently asked questions Friday we have our returning champion Scotts Taha back with this hello and Scotts topic today he must talk about his social media and this impact on personal injury claims so Scott let's get started we're getting start a little bit late here only have about 10 minutes so I know before we're starting you tell me he said there's basically two issues one of them is the issue of judges our jesters looking at people's social media and what they post on there and then also the discoverability of it in court and whether it's relevant admissible and then the other issue was well it was just how you can compare by not yeah right right so let's talk first about it and if anybody doesn't know we've written a book on this and it's on the website or we've written a book on how not to run your case the seven deadly mistakes it'll ruin your case y'all pass those out to clients over there at your office yes yes we are anyway you can get a free book from us you've got our website and download an e-book or you can write us a letter or call us and we'll send you on but we've written a whole book on this how not to screw you case up basically but so on this portion and there's one chapter just on social media but we're gonna talk about it here again today so so it's got listt us first give us some examples of some of your clients that you've seen that have screwed their case up through social media yeah I don't want any names or anything but writing and really I won't even mention you know won't even talk about our clients per se but just in the context of listening to other attorneys talk about how either they have managed to find information that was very detrimental to the other side and vice versa I can tell you that there was a I can remember a story a lawyer telling me he was a defense lawyer telling me how his client had been in a very had caused a very bad wreck and subsequently had gone online and basically just joked about the whole incident after you know severely injuring an individual and it came back to to haunt them but it did at the time I thought and that's just just one of many examples but it but it's also just in the context in general we have personally there's a case pending here where one of our pre-lit lawyers Lane diamond was telling me about a case where he had an adjuster who had taken the time to investigate our client and had found some images on Facebook and was making an argument that given what was depicted in the photograph that there she called into question his credibility about whether or not this this individual was injured or not and in looking at the photograph while it was a very innocent picture defense lawyers and adjusters are very good at taking out of context what may be a very innocent picture and using that to enhance their case and defense lawyers by the same token using what may appear to be an innocent photo and using it to downplay injuries that a client may have spurred an effort for difference lawyers and that's what they do and that's a taking in again and try to show your line right even though the photograph in and of itself was very innocent of course we've had clients that have been injured elsewhere and have blinded on on an injury that they're making a claim on I know we had a girl who her boyfriend broke her jaw and beat her up and she posted that on social media but she claimed all that came from that car accident she was that so I know when the adjuster saw that oh oh what why are you telling the world gee boyfriend did that you know that didn't her casement no no not it wouldn't wouldn't help her case at a halt and then we've had clients that just they like to drink a lot and smoke weed do lots of drugs on social media yeah now some clients makes it well how would that be relevant and how would that come in why would some judge let let a jury see that and so will tell us how how that could harm your case that you're you know partying and smoking weed maybe done some other drugs on on Facebook or Instagram or wherever I mean it can come in most most of the time it comes in through the fact that if a individual either through interrogatory answers or through depositions says that they can't do this that or the other or they can't go out and do those things that that they really enjoy doing or that they like to do and you you post up on Instagram or Facebook a three-week vacation that you took you know to the Grand Canyon hiking up and down the trails then it becomes relevant to your claim as to whether you're you're physically able to do those things and whether or not you can continue to do them in the future and so that's how it becomes relevant is as you create an issue by saying I can't do this or that or I don't do it as well and now we have evidence that well sure you are doing it again yeah I understand the hiking up the Grand Canyon I was talking about more like say smoking weed or something either way wait why should that come up well it depends on the context of the the incident in and of itself if there are allegations that one may have been consuming alcohol at the time or may have been intoxicated through other substances it can lend credence if you testify for example that you didn't do or you don't do drugs or drink and then there's video of you doing it goes to your credibility and so it becomes admissible those ways I recall a case you and I trade about five six years ago where we didn't think our clients cocaine use would come in but the defense lawyer got the doctor on cross-examination outside the presence of the jury to say that well I think your client probably would have healed a lot quicker had he not been doing drugs and then so he wouldn't have all these damages that he's got and so the judge decided well you know then he should have mitigated his damages and he didn't because he's doing cocaine instead of doing third his therapeutic medication and if he's taking extra-curricular there and so the judge the judge let it in and luckily though in that case we the judge tells before trial that he was gonna let it in so we're able to deal with it yes we got the voir dire with it you got right or most some people that really hold that against them and so in that particular case we kind of salvaged it but we could have just totally destroyed the case had we now been able to like Boyd IRA the jury on it and kind of get both the worst right drug hater people out of there all right um okay so then the second issue was how can people help themselves let's say they've got a bunch of stuff on social media where they're thinking about putting stuff up let me just ask you broadly how can people help themselves well there's a there's a couple of things that I would certainly advise them to do one is which unfortunately most people aren't going to follow is don't post anything on your social media after the initiation of your claim I understand that's probably not realistic but I would advise anybody that whatever they're contemplating posting to look at it from the eyes of is this something that can be used or could be misconstrued and hurt my case and therefore I'm not going to post it on the social media secondly what I would advise everybody to do and I think that we probably be able to help here is is to enhance your privacy settings on your social media accounts and limiting it to those most trusted family and friends so that it's not available to you know Jane Doe adjuster or you know mister defense lawyer who can't with a few keystrokes log on to your Facebook account and look at all of your your postings that are all set in a public mode and so I would tell everybody please turn all of your settings to to private I will say please don't remove anything from your Facebook account after the initiation of a claim because it could be construed as the destruction of evidence and there's there are some cases that are beginning to to come down from appellate courts where clients and and in some cases attorneys there was a case out of Virginia where a attorney had advised the client to pull down some facebook photos that were not very flattering the judge ended up sanctioning the lawyer to the tune of almost half a million dollars and the plaintiff in that case a couple hundred thousand dollars Court of Appeals actually upheld the sanctions against the lawyer and the it was against a lawyer because the lawyer your advice for the client to correct so you know my advice would would be do not remove anything from your facebook page but you there's nothing nothing wrong with limiting the people who can view your Facebook couch or even better just deactivate I would tell people just deactivate your page until this is over with because if you deactivate then you're not destroying evidence so just not not letting anybody see it and and you know the word back name then right but yeah we if and that certainly is an alternative but with the caveat that don't don't remove anything from the point don't destroy anything that was on the page because you don't want to give the defense lawyer any ammunition that well you took something down that that would have been beneficial to us yeah just like we don't like it when trucking company suddenly to lose lose a blowout tire order loose some defective part or the logbook you know the drivers log book or something threats so my detective sauce we we like to them for or the dashcam a video that yeah it's called spoliation of evidence and it could result in huge sanctions against gets the defender was the same thing applies to plain and correct plaintiff can't go around destroying evidence either you know I think everybody should know this but once you put something on there and it is pretty much out there forever I mean it's you can't really delete it from the internet people think they can and they may delete it from their you know their account but it doesn't mean it's gone you know it's it's in the server somewhere it's an right it's in the cloud somewhere it's on Facebook servers or Google servers or somewhere and and it just it just doesn't go away no it doesn't in and defense lawyers have gotten very good about crafting subpoenas to companies like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and and YouTube to gain access to to information from a individual system and so even though you may be activate your account it certainly is not going to prevent the defense lawyer from subpoenaed sending the subpoena to Facebook the contents of your account um now another way it's even easier than that all you got to do is create a fake profile and what we currently do if it's a male we just get a really attractive female and send a friend request and they accept us right away same thing with the females we send a really good-looking guy create a profile women sent friend request won't go yeah I'll take yeah I know I get them all the time I get these like really good-looking girls like you know sending me you know friend requests and I started looking at their profile and I go this is not a row profile this this is something just wants me to accept their friend request so they can see what I'm you know like so what's on my profile so you know I don't accept it but it's not just that but you know your friends may share something let's say you got a photo with a bunch of your friends and they go sure well guess what sure it was on your account but now it's out in the world and so right I was someone was telling me a story just the other day about the fact that they had an individual had basically said all of their facebook settings to private but they knew a friend of the individual and were able to friend the friend and then of course all the photos that you tagged back in the for now we're now available so that they could go through the friend to see all the photos of this individual who had settled their settings to privacy so one of the things that you can always always do also is is to anytime you've tagged somebody untagged that photo so that it's not it's not shareable again beyond just your your page it's still there but it's not your friends not going to they're not going to be able to access it through your friends account anyway I was always tell clients look just deactivate your account till your litigation is over but a lot of them don't want to listen and anyway so and it's hard to do so the next best thing is to change the privacy settings on it and then just if you ever have any question about do I really want someone else to see this besides my very close family and friends it's probably not something you want to put on fake smear when I say most trusted friends once again we we've written a book on how not to screw your case up it's called the seven fatal mistakes that will ruin your personal injury case in Texas you can order by calling us by emailing us by showing up here you can download an e-book from our website so order the book it's free and it tells you all this and more at dish in addition I just wrote a new chapter for a book that I'm I'm authoring with I think 13 other lawyers on personal injury cases and that was my topic too that I wrote about so that'll be coming out here probably in the next 90 days or so so we'll make copies of those available also but anyway I think their time is up let me just mention real quick about our scholarship I know a lot people were interested in that we picked all our winners we're going to be putting them up on Facebook on Monday the winners were Alec Martin's bucks yes okay he came in third place from Rivera Texas ELISA Pena from Corpus Christi Texas she went to Veterans Memorial she came in second place and the first place went out was from Plano and that was a chi aqui aqui cus I was first place so great we had three winners from Texas this year I hope that continues I'd like two more winners from from South Texas and then Corpus Christi area the great Rio Grande Valley area McAllen and Brownsville so we're getting ready to launch a new probably by the end of this month we'll have our new scholarship for 20:19 so we're giving away the same scholarship money in December of this year so stay tuned for that we'll put all those up before the end of the month also we're going to get our voter register to vote initiative started and don't forget we have yesterday the floor coming up in March okay see the March April will soon as we know more about it for sure we'll put it up on on our social media and also Valentine's Day is coming up here February 14th is that right girls February 14 so we will be having some Valentine's Day gifts that were giving away in some contests so stay tuned for those so Scott thanks for coming in again appreciate it appreciate any time and I will not be here next week so we will see you guys the follow-up Friday so until then be careful with social so be careful with you so don't media and remember if you put it up and then you get in a accident something you have to bring a claim if you get rid of it that's destruction of evidence so just don't put it up in a place if it's questionable so ok same same channel in two weeks see you guys then

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