Personal Injury Law—When Fitbit Data Becomes Evidence

A personal injury lawyer, like the lawyers at the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC in Greenvile SC, often rely on various sources of evidence to support a case. For instance, this evidence can take the form of expert witnesses, medical professionals, photos, and other information, like medical bills and insurance claims. Yet, in a personal injury case in Canada, one lawyer plans to use Fitbit data as evidence. Fitbit is worn like a wristwatch, and it tracks a person’s heart rate and activity level. The data is stored throughout the day and can then be downloaded to a person’s computer.
According to the Atlantic, personal injury lawyers in Canada plan to use Fitbit data to show that a personal trainer hasn’t been able to achieve the level of fitness she attained before her injury. Yet, the use of such data in court could potentially set forth a dangerous precedent, one where employers could possibly use this data against employees in worker’s compensation claims, and one where health insurance companies could use the data to their benefit. It isn’t clear whether this kind of data will be protected under Constitutional law. While these companies cannot force individuals to use these devices, courts can order that individuals release their Fitbit data to the court, if it is available.
This means that if you’re trying to win a personal injury lawsuit, it is very possible that your Fitbit could hold incriminating evidence.
Are we likely to see court orders on individual’s Fitbit data anytime soon? Not likely.
The New York Times recently reported on a lawsuit against Fitbit that claims that the tracker is inaccurate when measuring high activity levels. When Fitbit readings were compared to an electrocardiogram by California State Polytechnic University researchers, the Fitbit readings were found to be off. The class action lawsuit against Fitbit seeks punitive and compensatory damages. Users who rely on the device to track their heart rates could be put at risk if the device offers a false reading.
Despite these concerns, evidence submitted in court from these devices could potentially sway a judge or jury.
Another problem with using these devices as evidence has to do with the variable ways they track activity. One device may even count writing as “activity” while another device only tracks steps or heartbeats. Not every judge or jury may be able to understand the nuances and differences of how these devices measure activity levels. An injured person could theoretically be sitting and still show “activity” based on some of the ways these devices measure activity levels.
In fact, Apps and other devices have already been used in court. In one recent bike accident case, for instance, data from apps for tracking bike rides were submitted as evidence.
Diverse sources of data can be used in a personal injury case. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, it is wise to speak to a qualified personal injury lawyer. Carole Hayes offers qualified counsel to personal injury victims in Greenville. South Carolina. Visit our website at www.greenvillehayeslawoffices.com.

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