In a recent personal injury case in Calgary, Alberta, Canada the victim’s attorney used Fitbit data to support her claim. Prior to her accident, she was a fitness trainer who exercised on a regular basis. After her accident, her injuries limited her activity to a much lower level; her attorneys say that the victim’s Fitbit data will substantiate this.
Fitbit and other wearable electronics that record movement and exercise data may be admissible in court as evidence to show changes in victims’ activity levels post-injury. This may be of great benefit for victims who have lost the capability to work out, walk or move around in the same capacity as they were once able.
Evolving Rules for Wearables as Evidence
As technologies evolve, so must laws in order to accommodate the changes. For instance, when the correlation between texting while driving and crashing became evident, courts started allowing phone records as evidence in auto accident cases. When social media became mainstream, courts began allowing Facebook and Twitter data as evidence in personal injury, family law and criminal cases.
Now the same is happening with personal devices that track activity. Until now, most personal injury cases relied upon medical expert testimonies and medical records to substantiate a claim. New technologies have widened the scope of evidence. Allowing Fitbit and other wearable data as evidence can be of great benefit to injury victims who need additional ways to prove the extent and impact of their injuries to the courts.
Electronic Wearables in the Courtroom
Fitbit, created in 2007, is a wireless technology that uses sensors to track wearers’ movements. It is only one of many similar products on the market. Below are just a few others.
- Polar Electro (various models)
- Under Armour Armour39
- LifeTrak Move
- SYNC Burn
- Nike Fuelband
- Jawbone UP and Up24
- Misfit Wearables Shine
In addition to wearables, there are numerous apps that collect activity information. MapMyRun, Endomondo, Nike+ and RunKeeper are just a few examples. Lawyers may begin using data from the apps as well to help support their clients’ claims.
Will people be forced to wear trackers?
It’s highly unlikely that claimants will ever be ordered by a court to wear a tracker. However, if a victim already has been using a wearable such as Fitbit, insurance companies and other interested parties might obtain the data so they can use it as evidence.
Both sides – injured victims and insurance companies – will want to use data from wearables to their benefit. If a claimant exaggerates his or her injuries after a car accident, the insurer may be able to use Fitbit data to prove this. Conversely, personal injury lawyers can use Fitbit data to show that the victim’s activity levels really have suffered because of the injuries. As long as victims are truthful with their claims, new laws that allow data from personal wearable devices in court should come as welcome news.
More Information about Personal Injury Cases in Texas
For other interesting articles about personal injury claims, check out our blog. If you are in need of a personal injury lawyer in Texas, call Reyes, Browne & Reilley. Contact us today at (877) 977-2286 to set up a free consultation.