Should I Avoid Social Media During My Medical Malpractice Case in New York?

Statistics consistently show that around four in five Americans have some form of social media profile to share life events, connect with friends and family and communicate and express themselves online. Naturally, this number will include many doctors, such as yourself. While people find many benefits to social media, using it during a pending medical malpractice case can prove disastrous. The plaintiff could use what you post online to prove their medical malpractice claim against you. For more information on why you should avoid social media during your medical malpractice case, please read on, then contact one of our experienced New York physician defense lawyers today.

Why should you not use social media during a pending medical malpractice case in New York?

Social media is not as private as you may think. Even if you crank up your privacy settings, a diligent investigator on the plaintiff’s side may gain access to your pages. Should they do so, they might find the following evidence:

Your content contradicts your testimony:

Photos and videos of you engaging in unprofessional behavior, such as excessive alcohol consumption, even during your spare time, can damage your assertions of strong, sober judgment.

Comments from family and friends:

Even the content that witnesses post on social media can hurt your case. They might contradict your claims about your actions or inaction, or make statements about how you plan to retaliate against the plaintiff.

The admissibility of social media posts in court:

While social media posts are not automatically admissible in court, the court may render them admissible if it determines the posts follow the New York Rules of Evidence. Typically, New York courts categorize out-of-court statements as inadmissible hearsay. However, they routinely make exceptions for the statements of a party. When you are defending against a medical malpractice claim, your statements to others outside of court are admissible against you because you are a party to the case. In that scenario, the court will count your social media posts as statements. They may also admit statements by family and friends on social media if they contradict the same person’s testimony in court.

How do you use social media safely?

While you should stop using social media altogether, you may have legitimate reasons for continued use. In which case, we offer the following tips:

  • Put on the strictest privacy settings
  • Go through your friends list and remove anyone you do not know outside of social media
  • Never discuss medical problems or anything regarding your case online
  • Do not post photos, videos or check-ins of yourself
  • Ask your friends to not post or tag you in any posts
  • Assume the plaintiff will see anything you post

Speak with Paul E. Walker if you have any further questions.

Contact our experienced New York City firm

If you are a medical professional accused of misconduct, contact the Walker Medical Law firm to set up a free initial consultation.