Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Use and Usefulness of Social Media Content in Insurance Claims Investigations

Those of you who have attended one of my social media presentations may recognize this article to be much of what we discuss during the first two-thirds of that session.  Claims Magazine/Property Casualty 360° asked me to submit an article on this still hot topic, and it was published online this past Tuesday.

Citations to any legal materials referenced in my article are available on request.  Or, if you are a member of LinkedIn's IASIU or SIU Professionals groups, you may download a copy the latest iteration of my social media presentation on the discussion board of either group.  You can also follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn to follow developments on this subject. 

The area in which case law on the subject of using social media content in litigation is most rapidly developing is the issue of authenticating such material. Albeit in the context of criminal cases, courts have held for social media content to be admissible, it must be authenticated by either:  (1) an acknowledgement by its creator that it's his or hers; (2) forensic computer evidence linking the material to the purported author; or (3) circumstantial evidence establishing that the material was in fact created by the person whose name or image the material bears.  The two seminal cases on this issue are:  Teinda v. State of Texas, (TX Ct. Crim. Apps., decided February 8, 2012) and Griffin v. State of Maryland (MD Ct. Apps., decided April 28, 2011).  They are interesting cases and worth the read.