Toronto Injury Lawyers
Insurance Disputes Settlement
Toronto injury attorneys are warning their clients about the potential pitfalls of networking sites like Facebook, cautioning information on personal accounts could be used against them in court.
The advice comes on the heels of a ruling by a Toronto judge making private Facebook account information admissible in a personal injury lawsuit.
John Leduc, a victim of a 2004 car accident in Ontario, had been suing his insurance company for compensation when lawyers for the insurance company requested to be allowed to cross-examine Mr Leduc about information from his Facebook account ? including pictures of Leduc from his Facebook profile.
Leduc had claimed his enjoyment of life was compromised as a result of the accident, and lawyers for the defendant were intent on admitting photos of Leduc after his 2004 Lindsey car accident, saying they clearly depicted the victim enjoying himself.
While an earlier judge dismissed the request as a "fishing expedition", Ontario Superior Court of Justice Judge David Brown ruled in favor of the motion, allowing Leduc to be cross-examined by the defense team regarding his online profile, despite the fact that the profile was not visible to the public.
This has created what some feel is a dangerous precedent, and personal injury and car accident lawyers are now stressing to their clients postings to Facebook, MySpace and other social networking websites, even personal blogs, could be fair game in a lawsuit.
Ian Kerr, of the University of Ottawa's Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology, said Superior Court Justice Judge David Brown's ruling, admitting information from social networking sites, will be seen as a goldmine for evidence in court cases?.
In a similar case, in which a victim was suing for loss of enjoyment of life, Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady ordered copies of the victim's Facebook photos showing her partaking in social gatherings. Her Honor said, The plaintiff could not have a serious expectation of privacy given that 366 people have been granted access to the private site?.
While these cases could impact on personal injury claims in the GTA (including Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Richmond Hills, Scarborough and Markham) and Ontario, similar rulings are being handed down across Canada.
A B.C. case saw Facebook photos of Myla Bagasbas hiking, biking, and kayaking after her car accident, even though she had been seeking $40,000 in restitution for her suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.