Can a tweet be used as evidence in a personal injury case?
QUESTION: Can a tweet be used as evidence in a personal injury case?
For example a health and safety issue is reported to a company via their official Twitter account which they publicise as an official support channel. They acknowledge the tweet (by replying) but then don’t take action on the issue. Someone then has an accident as a direct result of the previously reported issue – can the claimant use this conversation as evidence of neglect?
ANSWER: Any form of communication can be used as evidence in any type of case. However, it is up to the trial judge to attach weight and context to such a tweet.
It would be prudent to find out who has control of the twitter account and whether or not he/she had authority to comment on behalf of the company, why the twitter account was set up, whether or not there has been any precedent set as a result of previous tweets and the action taken thereon.
It would also be prudent to print off the tweets for a certain period of time to give context ie. does that company routinely comment on that sort of matter, why has the twitter account been set up?
A good example is this case – http://dailym.ai/1CCeU35 – clearly a dedicated customer services account.
So taking an example of a twitter account being manned by a dedicated highway authority, the reporting of a defect on a particular road could be deemed to be notice if that twitter account was for that purpose. If the highway authority then did nothing about the defect and an accident subsequently took place then that tweet could be deemed to have been reasonable notice to the highway authority and be used in a trial to show that they knew of the defect but chose to ignore it.