Facebook Data And Photos Come Back To Haunt Plaintiff At Trial

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, there is a good chance that ICBC will go to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, in an effort to gather information on you in order to undermine your credibility. For example, they will look for photos of you doing something you claimed you could not do, they may look for evidence that you were able to take vacations at a time when you said you were seriously injured, or they may look for written information on your wall made by you or your Facebook friends. As a personal injury claimant in an ICBC claim, you should be leery of what you post on your Facebook profile, for fear that it may be construed improperly, and taken out of context.

 

In Tambosso v. Holmes, the Plaintiff was injured in two motor vehicle collisions, and subsequently brought ICBC claims for many types of damages, including pain and suffering, income loss, diminished earning capacity, and future care. The Plaintiff alleged a variety of physical and psychological injuries that had a severely detrimental effect on his life. Unfortunately, the Plaintiff was not that private about the information and photos about himself that he posted on Facebook, which severely affected his credibility in the eyes of the judge, as the evidence presented at trial by the Plaintiff and his experts was largely contradicted by the Facebook postings. This led to an award for much less than the Plaintiff had claimed for.

 

[171] One hundred and ninety-four pages of Facebook entries from her Facebook page posted between May 7, 2007and July, 2011 were entered in evidence following an order for production by Master Tokarek in August 2011. There are extensive status updates, photographs, and other posts to the plaintiff’s Facebook page that at face value appear to directly contradict her evidence regarding her alleged injuries, and her state of mind following the 2008 accident in particular. All of the posts were included in Ex. 1, Tab 1.

 

[174] I conclude that based on this Facebook evidence, in particular the photos of continued attendance at social events and posts from friends, that the plaintiff had a very active social life following the 2008 and 2010 accidents. The social life portrayed by her Facebook profile is consistent with the social life of someone who went through three engagements, the birth of a child, and a marriage. It is completely inconsistent with the evidence the plaintiff gave at trial and to the experts that she was a “homebody” whose “life sucked” and “only had friends on the internet”.

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