Fitbit sells millions of personal fitness tracking devices every year. Analysts estimate that Apple has been selling millions of its fitness-tracking Apple Watches every quarter. While some people may still question the true utility of these devices (and Fitbit has faced lawsuits challenging the accuracy of its tracking data), there is no question that they have caught on in mainstream society.
But, have they caught on in the courts? Personal fitness tracking devices collect and store an enormous amount of data, and this data has the potential to have a significant impact in personal injury cases. Forbes published an article in 2014 discussing one of the first uses of Fitbit data by a personal injury plaintiff, and since then cases have proliferated in which accident victims have sought to use their tracking data to support their claims for financial compensation.
How Your Personal Fitness Tracking Data Could Help Your Personal Injury Claim
In personal injury cases, personal fitness tracking data have a number of potential uses. Let’s take the example of a slip-and-fall injury claim: You slipped on an icy parking lot at a grocery store in a Wausau suburb, and you suffered a concussion and a broken clavicle when your hit the ground. If you wear a personal fitness tracker, the data from your device may be able to help prove:
- That you were in fact at the grocery store when you were injured (if your device has GPS tracking), and that you went straight from the grocery store parking lot to the hospital.
- That your activity level, sleeping patterns, and overall fitness have been negatively affected by your injuries.
- That your activity level is below the mean for individuals with your personal traits and in your line of work.
- That you are no longer able to run, bicycle, go to the gym, or engage in other activities that you enjoyed prior to the accident.
- That you have followed your doctor’s advice regarding rest, and that you have attended and actively participated in all of your physical therapy and rehabilitation appointments.
Of course, the relevance and usefulness of accident victims’ tracking data will depend heavily upon the facts involved in each particular case. For example, if you did not consistently wear your device prior to the accident, your tracking data may be less effective for proving that your activity level has dropped as a result of your injuries.
How Your Personal Fitness Tracking Data Could Harm Your Personal Injury Claim
While personal fitness tracking data has the potential to help some personal injury claims, it has the potential to be harmful as well. For example, the defense could try to argue that a lack of pre-accident data is indicative of a lack of pre-accident physical activity, or that a high level of activity after the accident demonstrates a lack of commitment to a speedy recovery. Of course, these types of arguments could be susceptible to alternate interpretations of the data, as well as other more traditional types of evidence (such as witness testimony and medical records). In any case, anyone who wears a personal fitness tracker should be sure to discuss the potential implications of any available tracking data with his or her attorney, as it is becoming increasingly common for this type of data to play an important role in personal injury claims.
Disclaimer: This Article Is Not Legal Advice.
Never rely on an article for legal advice as the law frequently changes, information may not be accurate, there may be exceptions to a rule, and reliance may be detrimental. Always consult one of our experienced attorneys for competent, current, and accurate legal advice.
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If you were injured in a slip-and-fall, vehicle collision, or other accident in the Wausau area, you can contact the law offices of Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. for a free initial consultation. To speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers in confidence, call (715) 842-2291 or get in touch online today.