The development of the legal system is affected by many factors, including developments in technology and consumer trends. In criminal law, for instance, developments in the area of privacy have been affected by new technology police use to monitor public safety. Estate planning practice has been impacted by the growth in digital assets and online accounts. Facebook has increasingly come to be used in divorce cases for various purposes.
Consumer technology which allows for the tracking of fitness and health data is beginning to be used in both civil and criminal cases, with interesting results. In a criminal case in Florida, for instance, data pulled from a woman’s Fitbit device served to undermine allegations that her boss sexually assaulted her. In at least one case, a plaintiff has attempted to use Fitbit data to establish damages in personal injury litigation.
How exactly would Fitbit data be used to bolster a damages case? Because Fitbit devices track activity levels and vital signs, it is possible that they could be used to help bolster evidence of the impact an accident had on a crash victim’s ability to engage in daily activity. Taken alone, this data wouldn’t necessarily mean a lot, but together with medical testimony, the costs of medical care after an accident, and other data, it could become part of thoroughly established damages case.
Building a strong case for damages sometimes requires ingenuity and thinking outside of established practices. Working with an experienced advocate who is willing to do be creative can help ensure that one builds the best possible damages case.
In our next post we’ll take a look at other possible ways technology might impact personal injury litigation, specifically with respect to so-called “black box” technology.
Palm Beach Post, “Fitness trackers can be used against you in a court of law,” Parmy Olson, Feb. 8, 2016.
Forbes, “Fitbit Data Now Being Used In The Courtroom,” Nov. 16, 2016.