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Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos

Social Media Posts Cast Cloud Over Sharpton Daughter’s $5 Million Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit

pothole Al Sharpton’s daughter has filed a $5 million slip-and-fall injury lawsuit against New York City after she allegedly fell stepping into a pothole while crossing the street nearly two years ago. In her complaint, Dominique Sharpton said when she fell, she heard a “snap” and realized she had injured her ankle. She is asking that the city cover her medical expenses for what turned out to be a sprained ankle, which required an emergency room visit, physical therapy, use of a therapeutic boot and ligament surgery.

As word of the lawsuit spread, Sharpton came under fire for some of her actions in the days, weeks and months after the fall. There were Instagram pictures of her dancing in heels, taking multiple trips to Miami and hiking in Bali. Of course, social media pictures don’t often tell the whole story, but this case is indicative of why it’s imperative that personal injury plaintiffs be cautious of what they post. As Sharpton explained in a deposition, the heels she wore only for a short time. That hike, she says, required numerous breaks and she received assistance from several others who were on the hike with her.

She didn’t post the pictures of her struggles. She didn’t post the pictures of her suffering following the slip-and-fall. That is pretty typical on social media. People tend to post the best parts of their lives, the best photos, the snippets that indicate they are happy, while leaving out much of the bad. These posts are often given great weight by judges and jurors because they come directly from the plaintiff, but what you’re seeing isn’t necessarily one’s authentic self or a reflection of the full reality. But this is why your personal injury lawyer may advise you to be extremely cautious with what you post – if you post anything at all.

A similar case several years ago involved a young woman whose Spanish teacher was convicted of third-degree rape and molestation when she was just 15. She later sued the school district for, among other things, emotional distress and loss of life enjoyment. In order to counter these assertions, defendant school district combed through her social media accounts. They found pictures of her smiling. They found pictures of her drinking with friends, on a hike, working at a veterinary hospital and hugging her boyfriend. Of course, our San Antonio injury lawyers know none of these things negates the fact that this young girl suffered emotional distress as a result of the sexual assault. Yet defendant school district had no qualms about making it appear so.

Another unfortunate reality in Sharpton’s case is the public portrayal of her as someone who is not only exaggerating but litigious. This is based on the fact that she settled a personal injury lawsuit against a trucking company for an undisclosed sum four years ago after she was reportedly struck by a careless truck driver in 2008 while, again, crossing the street. The New York Post went so far as to say the previous case “gives the (defendant) city ammunition” in the current case. But the fact that someone suffered two injuries in six years on the crowded, chaotic streets of New York City isn’t outside the realm of the reasonable. Nonetheless, the city could try to argue the injuries plaintiff is claiming as a result of the slip-and-fall were in fact due to a pre-existing condition as a result of the truck accident.

This combined with the perception that her social media posts counter her story could well present trouble for her injury claim. Our injury attorneys know that defense lawyers carefully dig through these accounts, and privacy settings aren’t necessarily an effective shield. If you are injured and unsure of what parameters you should follow to preserve the integrity of an ongoing or potential injury lawsuit, discuss it with experienced attorneys at an established injury law firm.

Contact our skilled San Antonio personal injury lawyers at (210) 308-8811.

Additional Resources:

Al Sharpton’s daughter admits prancing around on hurt ankle she wants $5M for , Sept. 26, 2016, By Julia Marsh, The New York Post

More Blog Entries:

$11.5M Texas Injury Verdict for Teen Hurt at Trampoline Park , Sept. 17, 2016, San Antonio Slip-and-Fall Lawyer Blog

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