How Social Media Can Harm a Medical Malpractice Claim

Woman Using Social Media on the PhoneFor many people, sharing their trials and tribulations on social media has become second nature. Especially during periods of isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, they rely on Facebook and Instagram to stay in touch with friends and family members, letting them know what’s happening in their lives and garnering sympathy when things go wrong. However, if you are in the middle of any kind of legal action, our attorneys strongly recommend that you stay off social media. This is especially true if you are pursuing a medical malpractice claim against a doctor or hospital.

How Social Media Posts Can Harm a Medical Malpractice Claim

It shouldn’t have happened. You sought treatment to resolve a medical issue, not make it worse. Now, because of a doctor’s or hospital’s negligence, you are suffering. No matter how angry you are and how much you want justice, social media is not the way to express it. In fact, doing so can undermine even a legitimate claim for damages.

In order to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, your attorney will have to prove the following:

  1. There was an official doctor-patient relationship.
  2. There was negligence on the part of the treating doctor.
  3. There are measurable damages as a result of the negligence.

It is this final point that can be hard to make if you remain active on social media while your attorney is working to prove your case. You can be sure the investigators for the doctor’s insurance company are monitoring your social media. For this reason, we advise all of our medical malpractice clients to stay off social media altogether but, if they can’t, we tell them not to:

  • Discuss the case. A Facebook post or TikTok video might be your go-to way to let off steam and get validation and support from others, but revealing details of the case can weaken the arguments we plan to make in negotiations and at trial.
  • Criticize the doctor or hospital. Writing negative reviews—even anonymously—on Google or Facebook, sharing others’ critical posts, or calling out the doctor or hospital by name can give them grounds for a defamation lawsuit against you. This will not help your claim for damages.
  • Post pictures. Claims that you were hurt by a doctor’s mistake can be countered by evidence that you are not as injured as you claim to be. You do not want to give the opposing side the evidence they need by posting pictures of yourself enjoying holidays, taking vacations, or even walking your dog.
  • Allow tagging by friends. Investigators will be able to find pictures posted by others that tag you, so you need to block them from being able to do so.
  • Accept new friend request. Now is the time to go through your followers on all of your social media accounts and delete anyone you don’t know. It is not the time to accept new friends, who could very well be investigators digging into your profiles.

Again, the easiest way to avoid these pitfalls is to pause or delete all of your social media accounts as soon as possible, but if you find that to be too much of an imposition on your lifestyle, we encourage you to follow these tips.

Common Forms of Medical Malpractice in New Mexico

Medical malpractice takes various forms. The clients we have successfully represented most commonly experienced the following kinds of malpractice:

  • Medical treatment mistakes. When procedures are performed incorrectly or unnecessarily, and the patient is harmed as a result, the doctor should be held accountable.
  • Failure to diagnose. If you believe your doctor failed to correctly diagnose your condition and you became more ill as a result, you likely have a claim for medical malpractice.
  • Failing to warn a patient of known risks. There are varying levels of risk associated with any type of medical treatment. However, your doctor is bound by the "duty of informed consent," obligating them to warn you of any dangerous side effects associated with a procedure or type of treatment. If you were not properly notified of the risk, you could have a claim.

Contact Keller & Keller in Albuquerque

If you or a loved one suspect medical malpractice of any kind, it is imperative that you stop posting on social media and reach out to an experienced attorney immediately to evaluate your claim. These claims are not easy to win, and you do not want to make it harder by making social media attacks.

The experienced team of attorneys at Keller & Keller understands New Mexico medical malpractice laws and has the experience to fight for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

 

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller
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