The Pros and Cons of Oversharing on Social Media

Social media is a great avenue to express yourself through stories and photos. It’s a great way to connect with colleagues and publicize information about good news or ask for support. However, some users and most social media platforms provide the option to “privatize” yourself from certain groups or people in your life. Whenever someone gets is in the middle of a criminal defense case, what role does social media play? Can the information you write online be used against you in a court of law? What role should you take in publicizing or privatizing?

Every year, millions of users share numerous links, photos and articles with the world through popular social media platforms like  Facebook and Instagram. As one would expect, that information can be used against them in a court of law. The evidence may be as simple as a conversation or as complex as a multitude of images and videos of the actual crimes taking place. It is simple for authorities to come across such evidence, and can command the platforms to hand over whatever evidence they have. However, if you are a criminal defendant, it’s a different story.

According to the article on Cal Lawyer, a California lawyer resource website, a defendant looking for information that is saved on social media sites faces a lot of obstacles. The Stored Communications Act has rules for companies like Facebook that keep them from providing the user’s information to others without the owner’s permission. Challenges to this have been brought to California federal courts. Facebook argued that it was unconstitutional and that they were denied the right to confront the witnesses that are being used to corroborate the case. They believed that the stored communications act does not give the defendants access to important information that could help their case. Unfortunately, they did not win their battle in appeals court, which denied the defendants’ argument. Another court case, Number One v. Superior Court, may bring some light on the subject and give criminal defendants hope of obtaining social media information from third parties. Unless a criminal defendant succeeds with a challenge based on Juror Number One’s compelled consent rationale, the plain language of the SCA leaves criminal defendants’ pretrial ability to obtain critical exculpatory social media information in the sole discretion of the government.

It may be safe to privatize your account if you have charges against you or to delete content as soon as possible. It is important to be careful when it comes to what you post on social media. While we are sharing it with others, this information is not entirely publicized and questions the rights of what we put into the virtual world. In most cases, social media posts can frame or injure people by claiming these “drunk photos posted on social media” reflect the person’s declining behavior and reasons why they are irresponsible and guilty. It’s important to be sure you are not oversharing on social media, in case you find yourself in a similar situation.

Common Causes of Maritime Accidents

Working on ships, ferries, and other sea vessels can be a dangerous job. Accidents casn cause injuries, property damage, and even deaths. In 2008, the US Coast Guard responded to more than 27,000 offshore incidents that caused around 800 deaths and more than $121 million in property damage. In order to reduce the risk of maritime accidents, it is important to ensure that a shipping vessel is “seaworthy” through proper maintenance and equipment.

According to the website of Williams Kherker, most maritime accidents are caused by negligence on the part of management or ship owner. Seafarers are protected by the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 otherwise known as the Jones Act, which allows them to collect damages if they can prove negligence on the part of their employers. In addition, the Jones Act entitles families of deceased maritime employees to collect death benefits for the death of their loved ones who were killed in a maritime accident.

Most maritime accidents were caused by human error which could have been prevented. Some of the errors that they make were due to being overworked, lack of sleep, or lack of proper training. A slight mistake by the crew can lead to serious injuries for the other workers. Human errors account for roughly 7 out of 10 maritime accidents. With a simple mistake, the boat could capsize, collide with another vessel, explode from a fire, or sink due to overboarding.

Maritime accidents can be preventable with proper care and maintenance. Likewise, keeping equipment up-to-date can also prevent accidents due to equipment failure. Aside from that, cargo must be properly loaded as it could result to head injuries, crush accidents, to name just a few. These are negligent acts which could make the person-in-charge liable under the Jones Act.

When reporting an injury or death, it should be accompanied by an accident report which contains the following:

  • the date and the location of the accident
  • The extent of damage
  • An expert evaluation of the most likely causes of the accident

Wrongful Death in Kentucky

When someone dies because of another person’s action, it can be murder (with intent to kill) or wrongful death (accidental). It may seem like splitting hairs; it still means that someone is dead. However, there is a big difference in terms of the punishment. When there was intent to kill that person, it is a criminal act, and that person will go to jail. On the other hand, if there was no intent to kill and the death came about by accident or a s a result of an assault, it is not a crime. However, the person or entity responsible for the death will still be civilly liable if there was negligence involved. Louisville KY personal injury lawyers call this wrongful death.

All states have laws regarding wrongful death. In Kentucky, wrongful death is “the death of a person (that) results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another.” (Kentucky Statutes § 411.130) The act may have been intentional, such as beating up a person with a bat, but it does not necessarily mean that the desired end was the death of the victim. A good example is road rage. It is easy for two people to act recklessly in the heat of the moment, and if one of them dies as a result, that would be wrongful death, not murder.

A clearer example would be product liability. If a drug company sells a product they know could have serious side effects on some patients, but intentionally withholds this information from the public, they become civilly liable for anyone who dies from taking the drug. While the drug company did not assault or even know the victim, the fact that they violated their duty of care towards their customers by withholding vital information means they are directly responsible for that death.

As the victim is dead, other people may file a wrongful death suit. Kentucky law only allows the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file. The probate court names the personal representative. Any awards from the lawsuit will accrue to the estate and be distributed to the legal beneficiaries of the estate, if any, once all administrative expenses, including funeral and burial expenses, are deducted.

The spouse and children are the primary beneficiaries, but in the absence of both, the parents of the deceased will receive the award. If there are no surviving parents, the estate is distributed as dictated by the deceased’s will, or in the absence of a will, any other legal heirs. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed even as a criminal case is ongoing; Kentucky law only allows one year from the victim’s death for a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed.