The Power of Posts: How Social Media Can Influence the Outcome of Your Wrongful Death Case

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The Power of Posts: How Social Media Can Influence the Outcome of Your Wrongful Death Case

By Steven Jensen
September 18, 2023

In today’s digital age, the pervasive influence of social media on various facets of our lives cannot be ignored. From personal interactions to professional endeavors, social media has woven itself into the fabric of society. However, its impact extends even further, often seeping into legal matters such as wrongful death cases. 

At Parker & McConkie, we understand the intricate relationship between social media and legal proceedings. In this blog post, we explore how social media can significantly affect the outcome of your wrongful death case and the considerations you should consider.

The Digital Footprint and Its Legal Implications

In a world where nearly everyone is connected digitally, social media platforms have transformed into a virtual diary of our thoughts, emotions, and experiences. But many individuals underestimate the impact of their digital footprints. Photos, posts, comments, and even private messages can be accessed by opposing parties and utilized as crucial evidence in a wrongful death case. The seemingly harmless information shared online can be misconstrued or taken out of context, potentially influencing the trajectory of the case.

From the perspective of a wrongful death lawyer, this digital footprint can prove invaluable in building or contesting a case. Posts depicting the emotional state of the bereaved or the conduct of the involved parties can be scrutinized, revealing potential inconsistencies in the narrative. It’s important to be vigilant about the content you share on social media platforms during such difficult times.

Credibility on Trial

One of the foundational aspects of any legal case is the establishment of credibility. In a wrongful death case, where emotions run high and the stakes are substantial, credibility takes center stage. What you share on social media can either fortify or undermine your credibility as a victim or a witness.

Consider a scenario where you are claiming emotional distress due to the loss of a loved one. However, your social media posts during the same period show you engaging in activities that seemingly contradict your claimed emotional state. The difference between your claims and your digital presence can cast doubts on the authenticity of your emotions and weaken your case.

Defense attorneys and insurance companies are increasingly leveraging social media as a tool to investigate the credibility of plaintiffs. Inconsistencies between offline claims and online behavior can be used to challenge your statements and motives. So it’s important to exercise caution with your social media activity during a wrongful death case.

Preserving the Evidentiary Landscape

Once a wrongful death case enters litigation, all parties involved are legally obligated to preserve any evidence that could potentially be relevant to the case. This encompasses not only physical evidence but also admissible digital data, including social media content. Deleting or altering posts after the incident could be interpreted as tampering with evidence, leading to serious legal consequences.

The counsel of a wrongful death attorney is invaluable in navigating this nuanced aspect of legal proceedings. They can guide you on the legal obligations surrounding the preservation of social media content. It’s always recommended to consult your attorney before making any alterations to your online presence, ensuring that you are acting within the boundaries of the law.

The Illusion of Privacy

Many individuals fall into the misconception that setting their social media profiles to private guarantees the security of their posts from prying eyes. However, it’s crucial to understand that even though privacy settings limit public access, they don’t make your content completely off-limits when it comes to legal scrutiny. If your social media posts are relevant to the case, they can be subpoenaed and utilized as evidence, regardless of your privacy settings.

Navigating Social Media during a Wrongful Death Case

Moderation in Sharing: During a wrongful death case, it’s essential to be cautious about what you share on social media. Limit your posts and refrain from discussing the incident, your emotions, or any specifics related to the case. The goal is to keep a low online profile to avoid inadvertently complicating your legal situation.

Pause Before Posting: Before you hit that “post” button, take a moment to think. Remember that even seemingly innocent posts can be twisted around in a legal setting. Consider the potential consequences of your online activity. Understand that your words and actions online can either bolster your case or be used against you.

Work With Your Wrongful Death Attorney: Your attorney is your most valuable ally during this challenging period. Maintain an open line of communication with them regarding your social media usage. They have valuable insight into what content is safe to share and what should be avoided. Collaborating with your attorney ensures that your online presence aligns with your overall legal strategy.

Educate Your Circle: Your immediate circle of friends and family should be aware of the sensitivities surrounding the case. Ask for their support in refraining from discussing the matter on their own social media accounts. Emphasize the importance of discretion and privacy. Additionally, be careful when accepting friend requests, connecting only with people you know and trust to prevent potential information leaks.

Stay Off of Social Media: Sometimes, the best course of action during a wrongful death case is to stay off of social media entirely. Going offline can be the most effective way to safeguard your legal interests and avoid any inadvertent missteps. This proactive approach can help you focus on your case and protect yourself from potential pitfalls that online engagement might bring.

Now, let’s address some legal aspects related to wrongful death cases.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in Utah?

In Utah, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit is typically granted to specific individuals or entities known as “plaintiffs.” These plaintiffs are defined by Utah’s wrongful death statute, which outlines the hierarchy of eligible parties. In general, the following parties may have the legal standing to file a wrongful death case:

Surviving Spouse

The surviving spouse of the deceased person is typically the primary plaintiff in a wrongful death case in Utah.


If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased person’s children may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.


If there are no surviving spouses or children, the deceased person’s parents may have standing to bring a wrongful death claim.

Estate Representative

In some cases, a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries.

It’s important to note that Utah’s wrongful death law can be complex, and the specific circumstances of each case can impact who is eligible to file. Consulting with an attorney experienced in wrongful death cases is essential to determine your specific eligibility.

What Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Case in Utah?

In a wrongful death case in Utah, plaintiffs may seek compensation for various economic and non-economic damages, which can include:

Economic Damages

These are tangible losses and expenses incurred as a result of the wrongful death, such as medical bills, funeral and burial costs, lost income and future earnings, and property damage.

Non-Economic Damages

These are less tangible losses and hardships suffered by the surviving family members, including pain and suffering, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and the impact on the quality of life.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or reckless, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.

The specific damages and their calculation can vary widely depending on the facts of the case, including the age, earning capacity, and relationship of the deceased person to the plaintiffs. Additionally, Utah has a “cap” or limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases in Utah

It’s important to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death case in Utah. Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the deceased person’s death. However, there can be exceptions and circumstances that affect this timeline, so consulting an attorney promptly is crucial to meet legal deadlines.

Wrapping Up

In an era where our lives are intertwined with the digital realm, it’s crucial to acknowledge the profound impact that social media can have on legal proceedings, particularly in cases as sensitive as wrongful death. Every post, comment, and photograph carries the potential to be dissected and analyzed, potentially altering the trajectory of your case. 

By exercising mindfulness, staying informed, and seeking guidance from legal experts such as the lawyers at Parker & McConkie, you can navigate the digital landscape while safeguarding your legal rights. In the contemporary age, what you choose to share online has ramifications that can extend far beyond your screen.

If you have more questions about wrongful death personal injury claims in Utah or need legal advice, schedule a free consultation with the attorneys at Parker & McConkie.

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