Studies show that nearly 51% of Americans already own fitness trackers. Big players like Fitbit, Apple and Garmin continue to report growing sales each year. Although products vary in terms of specific features overall, these gadgets are generally aimed at helping you to stick to your fitness goals by tracking your activity level.
While the technology is still new, the ability to track and record fitness and activity related information has found a new purpose. Attorneys are increasingly using data recorded by such devices as evidence in in personal injury cases.
Here is a look at how fitness trackers are being used in court and if your fitness tracker will ultimately help or harm you in the eyes of the judge and jury.
History of fitness trackers and personal injury cases
In 2014, a court in Calgary admitted data from a fitness tracker as evidence to prove a decrease in the activity level of the plaintiff after a collision. An analytic company was brought in to compare the fitness and activity levels of the injured woman, who had been a personal trainer, with that of the general population. The results showed that the plaintiff’s activity levels were below average, demonstrating the life-altering impact she suffered due to the injury.
In a similar manner, lawyers used the data from a fitness tracker to disprove the claim of a Pennsylvania woman. Information from her activity tracker revealed that she was actually up and walking about, not sleeping, at the time she suffered a physical attack.
Supporting an injury claim
Attorneys have fewer challenges proving an injury when the injury is very visible. However, the challenge becomes much greater when attempting to show the full extent of a non-visible injury or internal pain. When there are no bruises, fractures or cuts, judges and juries are skeptical and less likely to issue a favorable award. Lawyers often look to expert testimony.
Fitness trackers may not be able to show your internal injuries or pain, but they can show how you’ve been impacted physically. Hard data, in the hands of an experienced attorney, can add significant value to your case.
Impact of fitness trackers on your claim
The data offered by fitness tracker goes both ways. Different devices have varying features, but wearable technology generally captures a wealth of information including speed, distance covered, and GPS location. The specificity of the data can include of the number of steps taken, heart rate and even blood pressure.
There is massive potential for the use of this technology in personal injury claims. Because the information gathered by these devices is stored for long periods, it is easy to use the figures to compare pre and post-accident information on physical activity levels. If you use a fitness tracker, tell your attorney. Your attorney will be able to build the positive aspects of your case and also prepare for any negative effects.
Most wearable technology gadgets allow access to exclusive/membership only communities. This is most often used as a motivational tool. Many users post their fitness goals here and also talk about what they are doing to achieve them.
This system allows you to share your fitness routine, daily workouts and even your current mood with others. There is a common misconception that these posts are private and only accessible to the community members you choose. However, this information can often be sourced and used against you by an opposing attorney or insurance company. You should review and consider restricting your privacy settings, and also inform your attorney that you have a fitness tracker.
If you have sustained physical injuries due to someone else’s negligence, it is vital to seek help from an experienced attorney. Get informed on how your fitness tracker can help or hurt your claim. DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers knows how to use wearable technology data to support your claims. Contact us today and our team of experienced attorneys will help you get the compensation you are entitled to.