Will Fitbit and Crowdsourcing Change Personal Injury Cases?
One of the main items taken into account when considering how to price a settlement for a personal injury case is: what is the economic value of loss of ability to work or lead a normal life? In many cases it’s based on conjecture. In terms of working it can be a simple calculation of dollars per hour of work missed sometimes a little extra, but how can you quantify compensation for someone who seems relatively normal?
A law firm in Calgary is starting what appears to be the first personal injury case that involves using data from a Fitbit wristband.
Fitbit, which is based in San Francisco Ca, is a little device that you wear around your wrist that tracks your movement throughout the day, along with sleep cycles, exercise, and food logging via the computer or a smartphone app. This data is primarily for your own personal use. However personal information (name, location, etc.) is stripped from the data and used to provide metrics and usage statistics across all users of the device on behalf of the developer.The plaintiff in this case is a personal trainer, so she leads a pretty active lifestyle. What she and her attorneys hope to prove, is her activity levels are below a common baseline for someone of her age and profession, and those changes are a result of her accident. Data from Fitbit and a crowdsourced data consolidation company Vivametrica, a Canadian company based in Calgary, Alberta,would be used to determine the baseline.
This would give the court a better idea of how she should be compensated for her loss. If the case is successful, it could start a whole new wave of discovery for that little computer on your wrist. While they are discoverable now, we at Evidence Solutions, Inc. (ESI) have never seen this type of data used in this way in court cases. It will be interesting to watch this case and see how it unfolds.
The Digital Evidence Group at ESI thinks that it won’t belong before defense counsels are asking for Fitbit type data to prove their side of a case: ‘the plaintiff rarely exercised before the accident’, ‘the plaintiff is as active as ever’ or ‘the plaintiff is more active than someone with that disability should be’.
Other similar devices that could become evidence in Personal Injury cases, include:
Runtastic Orbit, invented by Runtastic, an Austrian company
Basis Peak manufactured by Basis, an Intel company based in San Francisco, California
Microsoft Band, created by Microsoft, based in Redmond Washington
Garmin Vivosmart, manufactured by the GPS device company Garmin, whose headquarters is in Olathe, Kansas
Misfit Flash, manufactured by Misfit based in Burlingame, California
Jawbone UP24, by Jawbone, Headquartered in San Francisco, California
Magellan Echo, created by the GPS company Magellan, which owns the Magellan name and is based in Santa Clara, California
* The practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.
For over 30 years, Scott Greene of Evidence Solutions, Inc. has been helping companies meet the challenges of the swiftly evolving computer technology industry. Scott went to work for IBM. Scott studied Systems Engineering at the University of Arizona. He has since earned certifications in many products.
The Evidence Solutions team analyzes data from Computers, Cell Phones, Black Boxes, Dispatch Systems, Electronic Medical Records, Email systems and more. Scott then explains the digital evidence in plain English.
Scott’s extensive knowledge draws clients to him from all over the United States as well as Internationally for consulting, Forensics and expert witness services. His extensive and diverse experience allows him to be an expert in many facets of digital and electronic evidence. Scott, a sought after speaker and educator, travels throughout the country sharing his knowledge and presenting to local, regional, national and International organizations.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.