First Personal Injury Claim to Use Fitbit Data Heads to Court
|Personal injury cases can be notoriously hard to prove, especially when it comes to claims that are difficult to quantify, like pain and suffering. But personal injury litigation just got a little easier with the help of a personal fitness tracker called Fitbit.According to Forbes, a Canadian law firm is currently putting together the first personal injury case that will use activity data gathered from a client’s Fitbit as evidence in court. The lawyers are hoping that the Fitbit data proves that the accident in which their client was involved forced her to live a less active lifestyle.
Normally, lawyers have to rely on doctor testimony to prove that their client’s fitness and lifestyle have been affected by an accident. Often these opinions face bias issues and are usually given after a doctor spends only a small amount of time with the client.
The lawyers at McLeod Law are looking to change that. Though their client was injured in an accident four years ago, before fitness trackers were widely proliferated, they’re hoping that her current Fitbit data will prove her drop in activity. Prior to the accident, the young woman was a fitness trainer. Her lawyers believe that data from her Fitbit will show that she now has lower activity levels than the average for someone of her age and profession.
“We’re expecting the results to show that her activity level is less and compromised as a result of her injury,” the woman’s lawyer, Simon Muller of McLeod Law, told Forbes.
Her lawyers won’t show raw Fitbit data in court; they’re planning to run it through an analytics platform called Vivametrica, which will compare her activity data over several months to the activity data of the general population.
“Till now we’ve always had to rely on clinical interpretation,” Muller told Forbes. “Now we’re looking at longer periods of time though the course of a day, and we have hard data.”
Muller believes that wearable fitness trackers will become crucial components not just of personal injury cases but of prosecutions as well, to disprove claims that seem less than legitimate.
“I think that this technology is an excellent source of evidence when dealing with a personal injury case such as this. In the future, I will be asking clients if they would wear anything like this to track their physical fitness in the wake of a personal injury,” says Mark Cantor, Principal Attorney at Cantor & Burger, LLC.
Muller also said that the firm is lining up several other clients who plan to use this technology to make their cases.