Welcome to the Orange County Car Accident Attorney newsletter.  This newsletter is designed to help us keep in touch with each other.  It is also designed to let you know that I am here to help you with any car accident or other personal injury problems which you, a loved one or someone you know may have.


With this monthly newsletter I hope to provide you with useful and interesting information relating to car accidents and personal injury cases.  If you have any additional questions, comments or suggestions, or are in need of legal assistance, please feel free to email me or contact me through one of my social media buttons below.  You can also call me, at no charge, at 949-496-7000 to discuss a case. 


Best Regards,  

John P. Burns   

P.S. Don't forget to look at the Burns Family News section, at the end of the newsletter, below.
Social Media and Your Injury Case

Postings by Cody Hall on Instagram and Twitter indicated he enjoyed driving fast, and after an analysis of these sites and Hall's driving patterns, the initial charges of manslaughter for hitting and killing a cyclist were then upgraded to murder. Paula Asher hit a car with four teens while intoxicated and left the scene, only to post about it later on Facebook, upsetting the teen's parents with her "LOL" comment in reference to the accident. 

These two cases show how prosecutors and judges are digging deeper in accident cases. Evidence now extends way beyond traffic cams and witness testimony: your best and worst witness could now be your own phone and the apps you use on it.

How Social Media is Being Used in Accident Cases
It's not just the court, either. Insurance companies can use this information to deny a claim as well. For example, if you use FourSquare to check into a bar at midnight and then report an accident later that night, your insurance company now has a reason to fight your claim even if you weren't stopped. If you were posting on Twitter or texting right before rear-ending someone, there's now a record of your action, and a reason to deny your claim. 

Personal injury claims can be verified by social media activity, too. In short, if anything in your social media postings or activities doesn't add up to what you are claiming or filing for in court, and it's relevant to the case, it can be found used as evidence against you.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

There are a few common-sense things you can do to make sure that social media activity is not harmful to your accident or injury case:
  • Don't use social media while driving. This includes texting, posting, checking in, or using voice-recognition programs that email or post to social media for you.
  • Don't talk about an accident or injury on social media sites. Posting that you fell because you were clumsy could ruin a slip-and-fall claim. Posting that you just rear-ended someone is admission of guilt, even if other evidence shows you were not at fault. You have no idea how a defense attorney could use your words against you, so don't give them anything to use.
  • Update your privacy settings. Make your social media presence as secure as possible, and keep personal matters that are still developing, like a lawsuit or claim, off public sites.
  • Conduct yourself online as though the defense is watching. Because even when you do post or comment online and you believe it's private, every interaction on social media involves another party. That party can share, screenshot, comment, and make public things that you wish they hadn't.
By the same measure, if you get into an accident or are injured, you need an attorney who knows social media and can help you leverage it for your accident or injury case.

At The Law Offices of John P. Burns, we make sure you receive all the benefits you deserve without having to deal with all the details. It's free to ask questions, so contact us directly at 949-496-7000 or email us at We'll be sure to get back to you within 24 hours.
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What People Are Saying About The Law Offices of John P. Burns
Personal Injury attorney John P. Burns and his staff took great care of me and my case. I was treated with respect, courtesy and friendship by everyone at the law offices of John P. Burns. If you have been in an accident and you need an attorney, I highly recommend the Law Offices of John P. Burns.

De'Brady Hampton
Sun City, CA. 
Attorney John P. Burns Wins $200,000 Verdict for Client
By Explaining The Case Like a Story and Projecting Pictures


Orange County car accident and personal injury attorney John P. Burns recently obtained a $200,000 verdict on behalf of one of his clients.  His client was rear ended in a significant rear end car crash and suffered soft tissue whiplash injuries to his neck and back. He also suffered injuries to his left arm and hand when his left arm and hand were jammed into his dashboard during the collision.

The accident caused the client to have neck pain, back pain and hand pain which required extensive physical therapy. The insurance company of the person who ran into the client said that it was not probable that the client had injured his hand in the accident because he did not report left hand pain until 30 days after the accident. The insurance company refused to pay any money for the client's hand or finger injuries.   


The case went to trial in the Superior Court of Orange County, California. Attorney John P. Burns used a combination of narrative story to explain the case, as well as projecting multiple images for the jury, in order to help the jurors understand the facts of the case.


Mr. Burns told the story of what happened to his client like the story in a play or movie.  At times, Mr. Burns became his client and spoke as if he was the client speaking. 


Each scene in the case story had a photograph or document projected on the screen to help the jury.  Over 75 photos and medical records were projected onto a video screen for the jury by Mr. Burns and his assistant, during the trial.


Photos of the client in his car, showing how close the dashboard in his BMW was to his hands on the steering wheel, were shown by attorney Burns. The accident also caused one of the client's fingers to develop a Trigger Finger condition.  The trigger finger required surgery by a hand surgeon. Images of the trigger finger condition were shown to the jury. Photos of the actual hand surgery in progress, taken by an operating room nurse for Mr. Burns, were also shown to the jury.


The defense attorney hired an orthopedic surgeon to testify at trial. That doctor testified that it was not probable that the client had injured his hand and fingers in the accident. He based his opinion on the fact that the plaintiff did not tell his doctor about his hand pain until 30 days after the accident.


Attorney John P. Burns cross examined the doctor. Under cross examination by Mr. Burns, the doctor admitted that he makes over $500,000 per year testifying for defense law firms, in addition to his regular salary as an orthopedic surgeon. The jury was out for only 45 minutes.  They returned with a verdict of $200,000 for the client.


Complete story available  here 

Press Release here 

Your Privacy and Social Networks

Here are a few tips from PC World for making sure your social networks are as private as possible:


  • Limit how you can be found. Both how and who can find you. 
  • Don't make public posts. Use privacy settings that limit posts to specific groups of people.
  • Turn off geo tagging. Don't allow your phone to tag your location in posts.
  • Unlink your accounts. Keep each account separate, since privacy settings don't translate form one platform to another.
  • Disable photo tagging. Don't allow people to tag you in photos without your permission.
  • Audit your apps. Third-party apps are much more lax on security and much more intrusive of your data. Delete anything you don't use.
  • Get familiar with the privacy settings. How and what you can change regarding privacy varies greatly from platform to platform. Learn these settings and how to use them to your advantage, and be aware that the "automatic" settings for any social networking platform can be changed at any time, and without your permission
Law Office of John P. Burns Family News

Hi everyone-it's time for the monthly edition of the Burns Family News.
By: Donna Burns

August found me in my hometown of Lancaster, New York, upstate near Buffalo- Go Bills, as in losing football team, and also home to Buffalo wings. I was visiting a dear friend for life, Elaine "Bubby" Bialekci, owner of Elaine's Flower Shoppe. 
Bubby had rented a summer home on Honeoye Lake, just south of Rochester, N.Y. where our families have spent many happy days. One of the attached photos is of Honeoye Lake from a distance. The other is of my friend Bubby, her daughter Amy and me sitting by the lake in the late afternoon. 
Over this Labor Day weekend our son Sean came home from Winnipeg, Canada for a whirlwind 48 hour visit. His original flight was supposed to land at LAX but was re-routed to Palm Springs. After a 4 hour detour Sean and our whole family met my sister Beverly and her husband Ken at the Wind and Sea restaurant in Dana Point for happy hour and catch up. Then we capped off the evening back at our house with grilled mahi-mahi and a sunset over the ocean.

Enough about me - here is a recipe that all the men in my family seem to love. We call it simply "The Dip." Get one can of either Denison's or Hormel no bean chili and an 8 ounce package of cream cheese. Put the no bean chili and cream cheese into a microwaveable bowl and mix together well. Heat in a microwave and serve with chips. If you have a crock pot to keep it warm, while people dip their chips, it's even better.

John and I are also headed to Winnipeg, Canada to visit with our son Sean, his wife Natalie and our 2 year old granddaughter Hanalei Burns aka the Canadian Princess. Here's a photo of Hanalei working on her tractor driving skills in Winnipeg.
After the weekend in Winnipeg, John and I are flying to Vancouver and taking a 3 day cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles (San Pedro). No stops, just 3 relaxing sea days and a chance for John to rest and for me to play bingo. (Did you know that you have a better chance of winning at bingo on a cruise if rough seas keep the old ladies in their cabins?) 
See you next month. Til then, stay well and fly safe. DB
The information you obtain in this newsletter is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.