SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES AND JONES ACT CLAIMS

APRIL 8, 2011 by Bill Abbott

When you suffer an injury in the maritime industry, your Texas Jones Act law firm may ask you to do something strange. They may request that you disable your social networking accounts. That’s right – your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You may think that social networking has nothing to do with the maritime industry. For the most part, you are right. However, social networking can have an adverse effect on Jones Act claims.

When you post on Facebook or tweet on Twitter, you probably do not give much thought as to who sees your remarks. The fact is, many people add friends, family members, co-workers, and even upper management to their social networking accounts. This means that all of these people will see your posts. Usually, this is not a problem. When the Texas Jones Act law firm you retained files a claim against your employer, some of your posts and tweets could work against you.

For example, say you are injured from a fall on deck. You are seeking maintenance and cure and lost wages. Then, you post on Facebook about your day at the ball field playing catch. If one of your co-workers or management leaders is a friend, they will see your post. One screen shot and your claim can be dramatically reduced. After all, how hurt can you be if you are playing catch? It will not matter that you only watched from the sidelines. The opposing counsel could convince a court otherwise.

Any Texas Jones Act law firm will tell you to either disable your social accounts or thoroughly review your friends and followers. Courts have been known to request information from your social networking accounts. By disabling the accounts, you will eliminate the need to monitor your posts and tweets. If you feel that you must keep them active, reviewing your friends and followers can help you eliminate possible threats to your claim.

No Texas Jones Act law firm is going to tell you to lie about your condition. If you are hurt, you are hurt, regardless of what your social accounts say. However, some innocent posts and tweets could be misconstrued and used against you in court. If you have a possible Jones Act claim, reconsider your social networking accounts. Discuss them with your attorney and make an informed decision.

 

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