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Georgia Courts Lower Auto Accident Damage Award Based on… Twitter?

On December 30, 2012, TMZ published an article about a Georgia car accident case that had been impacted by, of all things, tweets from a Twitter account. According to TMZ, tweets from the plaintiff had a major impact on the case. The plaintiff had originally asked for $1.1 million in damages but was awarded $237,000 by a jury. However, this award was subsequently lowered to $142,000 because of some things that the plaintiff posted to her Twitter account.

Our Atlanta auto accident attorneys believe that this is an important lesson for anyone involved in auto accident litigation. Information that you post on social media networking sites is public record and it can be used against you. As in this example, something that you post online could have significant consequences for your claim.

The Tweets That Started The Trouble
The Georgia woman whose tweets got her into trouble had suffered a broken arm and cuts on her forehead after the crash. The cuts to her forehead left her with a scar on her face. When she sued for damages, she indicated that she experienced pain and suffering as a result of her injuries. As a hairstylist who does braiding and weaving, she also indicated that her injuries would make it difficult for her to perform her job.

Based on the evidence and information she provided, the jury awarded her $237,000. However, she then went on a vacation weekend to New Orleans and she posted some details on Twitter about her experience there.

According to her Twitter posts, she indicated that the weekend was "epic," and expressed that she and her friends were having a great time She also tweeted that she was starting to love her scar and she posted a picture of herself carrying a hand bag in the arm that was allegedly broken and impaired as a result of the crash.

The evidence from these tweets was subsequently presented in court. The jury determined based on the evidence that she was living a full life and that her pain and suffering damages should be reduced since obviously she wasn't in so much pain that it was interfering with her lifestyle. The jury did allow her to keep some damages because she did, after all, suffer an injury and her ability to do her job had been impacted. However, she received significantly less than she would have had she not shared details of her party weekend on Twitter.

Many people use Twitter, Facebook and other networking sites as a means of connecting with family and friends and with those who share interests. While these online social networking sites can serve an important social function, it is very important that everyone understand the information posted may fall into the wrong hands and be read or reviewed by people you don't expect. What you post on Twitter or anywhere online can, therefore, have a significant impact if you are involved in a personal injury claim.

If you have been injured in an Atlanta car accident, contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates at 1-800-898-HAYS.