Insight

Can Wearables Make or Break Your Personal Injury Case?

Personal Injury - Wearables
Sean M. Cleary

Sean M. Cleary

March 16, 2017 08:00 AM

When you’re involved in a personal injury claim, it’s easy to focus on what you can put your finger on and forget the intangible. However, in the eye of the law, "virtual" is real. So, a word of caution: wearables can make or break your case.

Nowadays, it is not only your usage of social media and texting related to a personal injury that can be discovered and given in evidence against your claims. For example, substantiating a counter-claim of negligence on your part (for instance, texting before a car crash) or destroying your claim altogether (such as by posting a photo on Instagram showing you at the movies when you claimed you slipped on the wet floor of your local supermarket).

These days, your smartwatch can testify against you in court; your phone can strike a blow to your claim; your sports band can rescind your settlement agreement.

"Can attorneys subpoena Siri records? Will the judge hear your Echo ?"

Your wearables tell a story about what you do that you may not even know of, glued as you are to your technology to where you might no longer realize you are “wearing” it. Consider this: if you own the above devices, you are wearing a witness that can speak up against you, whether correctly or not. There are specific ways your smart technology can be used for or against you:

  • Collecting data on movement. Smartphones today often incorporate sports trackers or plain GPS trackers. If you have activated them at any point, they might just show up in court to say you went trekking the weekend after your debilitating car crash.
  • Collecting data on location. If you are considering claiming damages for a broken leg on the steps of your local museum, are you sure your smartwatch won’t yield data saying you were really at Lake Tahoe, doing shots with your childhood friends?
  • Collecting data on contacts. “Your Honor, I had no prior contact with this witness” won’t hold much water when WhatsApp records show you exchanged messages the day before your accident. And “I didn’t instruct him on what to say” may be true about regular phone calls, but your Hangouts may tell a different story.

Potential problems

Wearables are not attached to their owners. Data might be skewed by lack of GPS signal, lending wearables to friends and relatives, taking them off and leaving them on a nightstand for days on end, hacking with malicious intent and in many other ways. Such abnormal use will be hard to prove once the misleading data was aired in court.

We live in uncertain times when the law is just about now trying to catch up to the latest tech trends. Can attorneys subpoena Siri records? Will the judge hear your Echo requests? Can Google yield your GPS data? For now, technology has not figured prominently in legal cases, but judges and the general public are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, and the current administration seems bent on encouraging a lax interpretation of privacy for access to private data for federal authorities. We can, therefore, expect that soon our voice and physical tracking apps will be discoverable under the Fourth Amendment. Be ready for when that moment comes. Know that you can use your wearables to make your case, by showing the consistency of claim and data. But be also mindful that your wearables can be used against you.

Trending Articles

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power


by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

The U.S. Best Lawyers Voting Season Is Open


by Best Lawyers

The voting season for the 31st edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and the 5th edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America is officially underway, and we are offering some helpful advice to this year’s voters.

Golden figures of people standing on blue surface connected by white lines

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

2021 Best Lawyers: The Global Issue


by Best Lawyers

The 2021 Global Issue features top legal talent from the most recent editions of Best Lawyers and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch worldwide.

2021 Best Lawyers: The Global Issue

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Upcycle Conundrum


by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2024 Launch


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce The Best Lawyers in Australia™ for 2023, including the top lawyers and law firms from Australia.

Australian Parliament beside water at sunset

Best Lawyers Voting Is Now Open


by Best Lawyers

Voting has begun in several countries across the globe, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. Below we offer dates, details and answers to voting-related questions to assist with the voting process.

Hands holding smartphone with five stars above phone

Inflation Escalation


by Ashley S. Wagner

Inflation and rising costs are at the forefront of everyone’s mind as we enter 2023. The current volatile market makes it more important than ever to understand the rent escalation clauses in current and future commercial lease agreements.

Suited figure in front of rising market and inflated balloon

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

A Celebration of Excellence: The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 Awards


by Best Lawyers

As we embark on the 18th edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™, we are excited to highlight excellence and top legal talent across the country.

Abstract image of red and white Canada flag in triangles

Announcing The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2024


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the landmark 15th edition of The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ for 2024, including the exclusive "Law Firm of the Year" awards.

Sky view of South Africa town and waterways

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide is now live and includes recognitions for all Best Lawyers family law awards. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Man entering home and hugging two children in doorway