Social Media Discovery

Posted On: November 2, 2011 by Ronald V. Miller, Jr.

Defense lawyers are looking for serious personal injury victims to post this picture on Facebook

Social media is all the rage for defendants’ personal injury lawyers. In the olden days, the only really fun Perry Mason moments from discovery for defense lawyers was surveillance video. Out of the 10,000 times the insurance company would do surveillance, someone would hit a “guy who claims he is in a wheelchair runs a 6 minute mile” jackpot.

When I started as an associate, the partner I worked for told over and over again, one “got ya” surveillance story he had when he was a young associate. Every time he told the story, he exaggerated the facts a little more. Most people listening, I’m sure, suspected as much. But no one cared, because it was a fun story. These conflated stories have kept a lot of private investigators in business. Every lawyer wants to tell a “I tricked them” story of their own. It is the defense lawyer equivalent of a high stepping 109 yard interception return.

Now, defense lawyers view social media as surveillance video on steroids. It is a lot cheaper too. There is, in their estimation, a treasure trove of social media weapons to be used against personal injury plaintiffs that contradict their claims. I say “social media” but I think 95% of what defense lawyers really think is out there is on Facebook. MySpace barely has a pulse, Google +1 is just getting off the ground, and Twitter’s 140 characters is usually not enough space to contradict your own injury claim.


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