Personal injury cases are prime targets for manipulation and conjecture. How do you show that someone who’s been in a car accident can’t do their job properly, and deserves thousands of euro in compensation? Till now lawyers have relied on doctors to observe someone for half an hour or so and give their, sometimes-biased opinion. Soon, they might also tap the wealth of quantifiable data provided by fitness trackers. A law firm in Calgary is working on the first known personal injury case that will use activity data from a Fitbit to help show the effects of an accident on their client.
The young woman in question was injured in an accident four years ago. Back then, Fitbits weren’t even on the market, but given that she was a personal trainer, her lawyers at McLeod Law believe they can say with confidence that she led an active lifestyle. A week from now, they will start processing data from her Fitbit to show that her activity levels are now under a baseline for someone of her age and profession.
It will “back up what she’s been saying,” says her lawyer, Simon Muller of McLeod Law.
The lawyers aren’t using Fitbit’s data directly, but pumping it through analytics platform Vivametrica, which uses public research to compare a person’s activity data with that of the general population.
Muller says the case is “unique,” and does appear to be the first known case where data from a wearable is used in court. (If other earlier cases come to light I will update this post.)
“Till now we’ve always had to rely on clinical interpretation,” Muller says from his office in Calgary. “Now we’re looking at longer periods of time though the course of a day, and we have hard data.” His plaintiff will share her Fitbit data with Vivametrica for several months as part of an assessment period.
“We’re expecting the results to show that her activity level is less and compromised as a result of her injury.”
What’s intriguing (and a little creepy) is that cases like Muller’s could open the door to wearable device data being used not just in personal injury claims but in prosecutions. “Insurers will want it as much as plaintiffs will,” says Muller, for assessing sketchy claims.
THis article appears courtesy of Forbes.com. You can read the full article via Fitbit Data Now Being Used In The Courtroom.