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Devices have changed nearly every aspect of the way we live — the way we communicate, shop, gather information, and do business. Now, they may be changing the way personal injury lawsuits are resolved.
According to Engadget, a personal injury case in Canada will use data taken from a Fitbit device, which tracks physical activity. The young woman who was injured will wear the device, which is a band worn around the wrist, for a few months to gather data that will be compared to that of people of similar age and occupation.
Approximately 96% percent of personal injury lawsuits are settled before they even get to trial, but those plaintiffs who do go to court often have to prove the degree to which they were injured, and how that affects his or her ability to work at the time of the injury and in the future. Damages like pain and suffering, loss of ability to work, and cost of medical bills are usually included in a settlement.
One of the difficulties of personal injury cases and the way they are resolved is that much of the compensatory damages are dependent on a doctor’s opinion, which is based on a short period of observation and could be swayed by bias.
“Till now we’ve always had to rely on clinical interpretation,” Simon Muller of McLeod Law told Forbes. “Now we’re looking at longer periods of time though the course of a day, and we have hard data.”
According to Forbes, the woman who was injured was a personal trainer, so her lawyers believe they will be able to argue that she was able to lead an active lifestyle. The evidence that the lawyers will present in court isn’t actually the data from the Fitbit itself, but the data compared with public research about the physical activity of people in the injured woman’s age group.
Though the results of the case won’t be known until the trial is over, this could set a precedent for using activity tracking devices in personal injury cases.