Imagine the unthinkable: you or a loved one have been severely injured as a result of an accident, a medical error, or a defective product. The accumulation of medical bills alone is stressful, and it might be necessary to bring a lawsuit to hold the culpable party accountable and recover compensation for your injuries. The process of a lawsuit brings its own stress and uncertainty, which your attorneys will help you handle. But there are certain steps you can take even before that process begins in order to help protect your position, and support the positive change and accountability that a lawsuit can achieve.
Five key tips for plaintiff protection
- Minimize social media content and visibility. Once you file a lawsuit, the information in your social media accounts may be the subject of discovery by the defense. Your hobbies and activities, social connections, and even political views may be scrutinized.
- Avoid posting information about the incident or your injuries on social media, and minimize your social media use to the extent possible. Use privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, and/or consider deactivating those accounts if you don’t need to use them.
- Monitor your pages for any unusual activity and don’t accept friend requests or follows from people you don’t know.
- Follow your doctor’s orders. Follow all recommendations of the health care providers that are treating your injuries. This not only gives you the best chance for recovery, but also helps avoid any argument that some or all of your injuries are the result of not doing what you were medically advised to do.
- Preserve all evidence. Keep copies of any documents that relate to your case. This includes any written communication between you and the defendant, photographs, letters, drawings, emails, recordings, etc. Hold onto the originals so that you can provide them to your attorney. Keep a record of the names and contact numbers of those people who are witnesses to your case.
- Be prepared to share with your attorney. Transparency with the attorney you choose is key – don’t keep secrets from your attorney about your personal life or history. The defense will often request information that may seem unnecessary to your case, such as criminal history, other lawsuits, bankruptcies, divorces, past employers, and past counseling records. Your lawyer will know how to handle requests for this information and protect it to the extent possible. But you may hurt your credibility and your case if the defense finds out information about you that didn’t share with your lawyer.
- Seek legal advice as soon as possible. The wrongdoer or their insurance company may try to take advantage of the fact that you do not yet have an attorney. They may try to get you to sign agreements or make statements that affect your potential lawsuit.
- The best way to protect yourself if you have been seriously injured is to consult with an attorney as soon as possible who can advocate for you and protect your interests.