Wearable Technology and Personal Injury ClaimsJune 12, 2019
Sales of wearable tech has virtually exploded over the last decade; by 2016 the market had reached an all-time high with shipments reaching 33.9 million units per quarter—a growth of 16.9 percent over 2015. As forecast by Tractica, there will be about 560 million wearable devices sold by 2021, with estimated revenues of $95.3 billion. According to Smart Insights, smartwatches make up about 16 percent of the total sales of wearable technology, and, of the top five wearable device vendors, Fitbit takes the number one spot for number of units sold. One of the most exciting uses of wearable technology is in the healthcare industry, where health data can help doctors stay connected to their patients, and patient’s healthcare providers can collect patient data. However, there are some concerns of legal issues with wearable technology as well.
Wearable Tech Complicating Personal Injury Cases
While wearable tech items continue to be snapped up by consumers, according to News Blaze, wearable technology is significantly complicating what were once relatively simple personal injury claims. Think about this: the devices many of us now wear can capture a myriad of information. These devices can record our heart rate and blood pressure, track our movements, deliver our messages and even “hear” music through the wearer’s skin.
In fact, the potential applications for wearable devices are virtually endless with few limitations. As batteries and battery life continue to improve and microchip technology becomes more and more affordable, wearable tech has become exponentially more popular. In fact, some large companies hand out Fitbit activity trackers to their employees, even offering financial incentives to employees who meet certain goals.
You may be wondering how wearable tech has any effect on personal injury cases. The lion’s share of these devices are GPS-enabled, meaning they know where you are at any given moment. This also means that the information on the device—whether health-related or otherwise—can potentially impact your personal injury claim or present other legal issues with wearable technology. When a plaintiff alleges a serious personal injury, data from the plaintiff’s wearable tech device can be subpoenaed in an attempt to discredit the claims.
As an example, suppose you are alleging that the injuries you received in an auto accident have left you unable to manage even your normal day-to-day activities. Yet when your wearable activity tracker’s information is gathered, it shows you were jogging for a short period of time on a specific date. The problem with this is there is no context for the information—perhaps your four-year-old ran toward the road, and despite your injuries and pain, you sprinted after her to remove her from harm’s way (something most all parents would do, if humanly possible).
Admissibility Issues Surrounding Wearable Technology
Aside from the question of context, there are admissibility legal issues with wearable technology as well. How much of the information on your device is private? How much of the information could or should be admissible in court? How easily could the information be altered in preparation for discovery? How does this type of technology affect mandatory disclosure? When you file a personal injury claim, you are usually legally compelled to disclose any information which could potentially support your claim, even when that information could be used against you. Because this technology is relatively new, the information from a wearable device might not be disclosed—not purposely hidden, rather simply something neither the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney thought about. A plaintiff could also inadvertently delete data, not realizing it could be called into evidence, resulting in a truly accidental breaking of the law.
Helping Clients with Personal Injury Claims When Wearable Technology is an Issue
Clients whose personal injury claim may hinge on wearable technology could benefit from USClaims assisting in paying the day-to-day expense associated with the injury until the claim is settled. At USClaims, we offer pre-settlement funding, if a case is qualified for pre-settlement funding then we would purchase a portion of the proceeds of the anticipated court judgment or settlement for some cash now. USClaims only gets paid if a case is won or has reached a settlement! Apply now or call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS to learn more.