We have seen a revolution in wearable technology in recent years. While the implications for exercise are clear, wearable technology may also have a bearing on personal injury claims.
Earlier this year, Google and Fitbit Inc. announced a partnership to widen the use of wearable technology to boost the quality of health care. The deal allows Fitbit to access Google’s Cloud Healthcare API. It will connect user data with a patient’s electronic medical records in real time and help make records clearer in personal injury cases.
However, the increased access to information derived from wearable technology may not always benefit personal injury claimants.
Any data recorded by your smartwatch can be picked up by insurance companies as well as medical professionals like doctors, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists. It may help determine the extent of your injuries and speed up claims.
Wearable technology can provide a comparison of your activity levels before and after a car accident. Your smartwatch will have recorded your activity on the days before you were injured. If your activity consistently falls below this post-injury, the smartwatch data can be used as evidence to document your decline.
For instance, if you followed an exercise regime before suffering a personal injury your smartwatch will have previously recorded data of your day-to-day routine. If the consistency of this data falls below your average, the state of your health before and after your accident can be determined and used as evidence.
Data derived from wearable technology may also point to reduced mobility and disruption of sleeping patterns relating to emotional trauma, an area you can claim for in personal injury actions. The data highlights the deterioration in your health such as reduced mobility and disruption in your sleeping patterns. Therapists can provide a much more accurate report detailing your physical state which could strengthen your position at a court hearing.
However, if wearable data shows high levels of activity after an accident, an insurance company may draw on this evidence to claim your injuries did not significantly impact your life.
There are also some issues about using this technology as evidence. If a personal injury claimant gave the device to a friend of a family member, the information derived from it could be skewed. This would cause serious issues in legal cases and result in claimants receiving compensation they did not deserve. If the claimant gave the device to someone who was very active, it could negatively impact a court case.
A recent article in Inc. highlighted how personal injury attorneys are seeking to use Fitbit data to support their clients’ accident claims.
Wearable technology is here to stay. It remains to be seen how marked an effect it will have on personal injury cases.
The Inc. article explored the potential conflict between the right to privacy and the potential use of this information in lawsuits.
An important question will be whether the courts will be able to force the revealing of information from such devices. The data from these gadgets has the potential to help or hinder certain cases significantly, but whether it will become a mainstay of personal injury cases is unclear. If you or a loved one has been harmed by another party in Georgia, please call our Newnan injury lawyer at (404) 913-1529.