A recent court order by a judge in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, may have personal injury claimants thinking twice about the privacy of the data that they post to Facebook. While this case is currently being litigated in another jurisdiction, it is only a matter of time before courts in Chicago and elsewhere in the country begin to take notice. With the explosion of the use of social media, and the ease with which people can share private information via technology, it can hardly be a surprise that litigants would turn to such data to prove or defend their case. If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident in Chicago, it is imperative that you contact a Chicago personal injury attorney to help you understand your rights to a recovery.
According to an article appearing in the American Bar Association Journal, the plaintiff is suing Lancaster Regional Medical Center (LRMC) and Hospital Housekeeping Systems for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident at the hospital. Plaintiff alleges that she slipped and fell in a puddle of liquid in an elevator at the LRMC, seriously injuring her back and knee. Further, plaintiff claims that she needs surgery for the injuries, but cannot afford the medical treatment.
Defendants argues that plaintiff has posted images to Facebook that show she was participating in activities, after the incident, that a person would be unable to do with the injuries she is claiming to have. Defendants further state that these images fail to visibly indicate that plaintiff was in any pain at all. In response to defendants’ claims, the judge ordered the parties to hire a “neutral forensic computer expert” to examine plaintiff’s Facebook account. The order limits discovery by granting the computer expert the authority to review plaintiff’s Facebook account during the 17-day period after the alleged fall at the LRMC.
It has been suggested that information on a person’s public page has become the primary standard among state judges in determining whether to grant or deny access to a party’s private social media account, including Facebook. Aside from the intrusion into a person’s private information, courts now also have to figure out the dates on which photos and videos were taken in order to be sure the images are relevant to the case at hand.
Each year, thousands of people slip and fall on another’s premises or real estate due to the property owner’s negligence. Under Illinois law, a party bringing a slip and fall lawsuit must allege and prove the following items: 1) that a dangerous condition exists on the property; 2) that the person or entity in control of the premises knew or should have known of the danger; 3) that the owner or occupier failed to use reasonable care to remedy and warn of the danger; 4) as a result of their failure to act within a reasonable manner, a person must show that they suffered injuries as a “proximate result” of the property owner’s negligence.
There are many kinds of slip and fall cases for which injured parties are entitled to compensation. A Chicago injury attorney would be able to analyze your case and help to secure the maximum recovery for which you are entitled.