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Social Media and Personal Injury Lawsuits

We've all seen the video by now. Two men and a teenager in a National Park in Utah, laughing and high-fiving each other after one of them topples a huge boulder off its base. The men, David Hall and Glenn Taylor, and the teenager who is Taylor's son, were all boy scout leaders on a hike with their troops through the Goblin State Valley Park when Mr. Taylor pushed the Jurassic era rock formation over, while Mr. Hall caught it all on camera and his son high-fived him.

It didn't take long for the video to go viral. The National Boy Scouts of America and the organization's Utah National Parks Council issued simultaneous and similar statements addressing their actions: "...these men have been removed from their leadership positions and are no longer members of the Boy Scouts of America." The park officials also stated that the men could face charges for defacing state property.

But the trouble for Mr. Taylor doesn't end there. Mr. Taylor filed a personal injury lawsuit in September 2013 seeking recovery for alleged damages he is suffering from a car accident that occurred in 2009. Taylor is claiming that his injuries from the car accident have caused him to endure "great pain and suffering, disability, impairment, and loss of [enjoyment] of life" in addition to $5,000 in medical related expenses. In sum, Taylor's personal injury lawsuit is seeking recovery for permanent and debilitating injuries. However, like most of the nation, the person Mr. Taylor is suing saw the video showing him toppling the huge, heavy boulder, and stated that: "somebody with a bad back who is disabled who can't enjoy life to me doesn't step up and push a rock right off its base."

This could not be a better series of events for demonstrating how social media can have a huge impact on personal injury cases. When someone is involved in a lawsuit, the best advice a personal injury attorney can give them is to stay off all forms of social media. As you can see from this case, which was filed approximately a month before the infamous boulder toppling, the video shows Mr. Taylor performing actions and engaging in activities which he claims in his lawsuit the car accident made him incapable of doing. Mr. Taylor effectively ended his own lawsuit by posting the video of himself on social media.

Personal injury lawsuits and social media do not mix. Too often, people do not seem to understand that private investigators and defense attorneys have access to everything you and everyone else posts about you on all forms of social media. So don't provide the other side what often proves to be the best evidence against you: social media.

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Thomas Law Firm
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