HOW MUCH PRIVACY WILL I LOSE BY MAKING A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
Privacy is important, and now more than ever, big companies are finding ways to exploit our privacy at the expense of larger profits and more effective advertising schemes. Unfortunately, by advancing a personal injury claim, you are signing up for a certain amount of your privacy to be exposed.
YOUR VARIOUS RECORDS MAY BE PRODUCED
Usually there will be an insurance company on the other side of a personal injury claim. That insurance company will have an adjuster on the file, and once a formal claim is commenced, they will likely retain their own lawyer. At the outset of the claim, once the other side is put on notice, they will request that you either sign a consent, or produce such items as your family doctor records, employment records, income tax returns, and other documents that will help them understand the exposure your claim imposes on them, as well as the ability to try and defend your claim as best they can. Your pre-accident health status along with some other aspects of your life such as employment, the defence will likely have the right to know.
YOU MAY HAVE TO ATTEND EXAMINATION FOR DISCOVERIES
Examination for discoveries, is similar to what you commonly might see in the movies or on TV, when the defendant gets to question the plaintiff while being recorded. This usually will happen once the formal claims process is initiated, if your case does not happen to settle before hand. During this process, the other side will generally ask your lawyer to produce a number of documents and records to try and build a case against you. Your lawyer will be present during this process and should inform you in better detail of the process, and protect your rights along the way.
SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES
Social media profiles are often a target for the defence. Social media has become more widespread than ever, with statistics showing that billions of people use it throughout the world. In Canada and other first world countries, almost ninety percent of the population uses the internet, and over half of that have at least one social media account. While social media can help people stay connected, it can also be detrimental to an individual’s claim when posts and images are taken out of context.
Insurance companies and the defence will try to use social media to their advantage. Social media posts can become evidence in court. Since your case is likely not going to go to trial, it can still be used against you when it goes to trying to resolve the claim. For instance, if you have claimed emotional trauma from an accident, but are seen socializing often, it could be used by defence at an attempt to cast doubt on your claims. The same can be said about physical injuries, and partaking in strenuous activities such as sports or renovations of your home. It therefore becomes very important to be honest and forthright to your lawyer about what you can and cannot do. The takeaway is that it is very important to be careful what you post on social media.
Often social media accounts distort reality, and what may seem like a very social and glamorous life on facebook, in reality, may not tell the true story. In most cases, injured victims may even look like they are having fun and the time of their lives, when in reality they are grimacing in pain until it comes time to smile for a photo.
In Ontario courts, access to an injured party’s social media account will generally be permitted if the defence can show that it is relevant to proving the case. Courts will try and balance an individual’s right to privacy with the reasonableness of the request, and how important the information is to a fair presentation of the facts.
AN EXPERIENCED PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER CAN HELP
If you or a loved one has been injured at the fault of some other party, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to provide you with sound legal advice on your privacy rights and what to expect in the claims process. Contact our office now for a free no-obligation consultation
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