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Are Wearable Technology and Personal Injury Law on a New Trend Together? Part II

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Are Wearable Technology and Personal Injury Law on a New Trend Together? Part II

April 3, 2015 by Parrish Law Firm, PLLC

From Fitbits, and Google Glass to the revolutionary Oculus Rift, wearable technology is experiencing a new and surprising use: aiding Attorneys practicing Personal Injury Law

Never before have we seen devices that have the capabilities of the current generation of technology. In fact, this technology is astounding; however, so are the potential legal applications of these new gadgets. Cutting edge lawyers are using these devices in the courtroom to assist in jury trials and help prove the damages suffered by personal injury victims . These gadgets may also result in legal actions against their manufacturers for causing users injuries. Interesting, isn’t it?

Google Glass

Google Glass has been in existence for around two years. It has uses from navigating to perfecting your golf swing or “messaging on the go”.

Google glass can be used in the courtroom to record interviews and depositions, used as a source of admissible evidence, and to provide the option for performing real-time research. It could also be used when a Jury Selection Consultant is not available to come into the courtroom during the jury selection process by allowing the Consultant to provide real-time advice.

More uses will likely become evident as legal professionals explore other options.

Fitbit and other exercise monitors

Fitbit is another new digital tool now being used in the legal arena. For instance, a Canadian law firm is using information from a popular fitness tracker in a personal injury case. They want to use data from a wearable fitness device to establish the physical condition of an injured client prior to an accident. Previously, attorneys were forced to rely on the testimony of physicians that many times spend minimal time assessing the true condition of a personal injury patient. The Canadian attorneys think the fitness tracker will prove that their client was very fit and active prior to the accident, and that as a result of the accident, they are unable to perform their former job and other pieces of their pre-injury routines.

Using actual data from a wearable fitness device may prove to be groundbreaking for some personal injury actions. In fact, these devices could provide evidence to provide clarification of testimony together with witness testimony.

This case will likely set a precedent for the use of wearable technology for evidence in the courtroom. A precedent that could also be used in the future by insurance companies against personal injury victims who make false claims of prior activity levels.

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is a gaming accessory owned by Facebook. According to the Oculus Rift site, “The Oculus Rift provides an approximately 100° field of view, stretching the virtual world beyond your peripheral vision. Your view of the game is no longer boxed in on a screen and is only limited by what your eyes can see. The combination of the wide field of view with head-tracking and stereoscopic 3D creates an immersive virtual reality experience.” This product is primarily on the market as a development tool for and is mostly used by content developers, who develop games and virtual environments.

There is no argument that the new wearable technology is incredible, sophisticated, and potentially beneficial. From a legal standpoint, there are many potential dangers attached to these new devices.”

Just how exactly, the Oculus Rift might turn up in personal injury cases remains to be seen. There is potential for unforeseen circumstances that could result from failure to follow the instructions for using the headset and will probably result in some interesting legal battles soon.

Wearable tech in the future

As wearable devices evolve and expand on their ability to track our personal activity on a daily basis, it’s likely they will affect how court cases are approached in the future. The potential for impact in personal injury law is the most obvious, perhaps, but other areas of law will probably see uses for wearable tech in the future as well.

A major question in the future of monitoring technology is whether or not the courts will be able to force the disclosure of information from such devices. The data from these gadgets has the potential to help or hinder certain cases significantly, but whether it can remain private is yet to be seen.

Privacy issues will likely become a highly contested point as the use of wearable tech data in legal cases becomes more common. For now, anyone who purchases or uses wearable technology will benefit from reading data privacy policies and warning information related to the devices.

Attorneys will want to watch the developments of such cases; however, a bigger question about disclosure could also pertain. The law in general is not yet clear about “disclosure” of information from wearable technology. Information critical to a personal injury lawyer’s client may be available on a tracking device, but the question remains – Should that data be kept personal or made public? The question about whether health data recorded on wearable devices should be allowed to be subpoenaed like other evidence available to personal injury attorneys? This question revolves around privacy issues – this is a matter that is evolving along with the use and development of wearable technology.

The Parrish Law Firm Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys work with Northern Virginia citizens who have suffered from accidents and who are looking for fair compensation for their injuries. Contact us today for a free case consultation, or call us at 703-906-4229.

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A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.

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