How Fitbit Data Can Be Used in Personal Injury Lawsuits | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Proof that someone’s life has been seriously affected by accidental injuries can be challenging, our Virginia personal injury attorneys are always looking for the best way to present such evidence. Usually, personal injury attorneys rely on doctor testimony to show that the injured party cannot work and/or cannot perform the daily activities that they once could. While expert testimony is extremely valuable in the courtroom, personal injury attorneys and their clients soon may be able to rely on data that is provided by fitness trackers such as Fitbit.

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In 2014, a law firm in Calgary, Canada worked on the first known personal injury case that used Fitbit activity data to help to demonstrate the effects of accident injuries on a client. The woman in the case was hurt in an accident in 2012. At that time, Fitbits were not even on the market yet. But because she was a personal trainer, her attorneys argued that she had led a very active lifestyle. They used Fitbit data from after the accident to show that her physical activity levels were well below the baseline for a person of her age and profession.

The woman’s attorneys did not use the data directly; they ran it through the analytics platform Vivametrica, which uses public research to compare someone’s activity data with the general population.

Her attorney noted that in the past, attorneys have had to rely only upon the clinical interpretation of accident injuries and their effect on plaintiffs. Now with the use of Fitbit and other health tracker data, it is possible to show through longer periods of time that the client’s activity is less and has been compromised because of the injury.

Google and Fitbit Teaming Up in 2018

On a related note, Google and Fitbit announced in April 2018 that they were joining to leverage wearable technology such as Fitbit to enhance healthcare quality. The deal gave Fitbit access to Google’s Cloud Healthcare API. This connects user data with the electronic medical records of the patient in real time. Information about the patient’s heart rate, sleep patterns, and movement will be stored on Google’s Cloud Platform. The hope is that by providing doctors with this information, there will be better health outcomes. Once this partnership is fully realized, it is possible there could be major effects on litigation.

The plaintiff’s attorney could use this information to verify a personal injury claimant’s pain and limitations. Getting corroboration beyond the word of the injured client always is important.

A Potential Aid to Personal Injury Lawsuits

Our Virginia and North Carolina personal injury attorneys have a long, successful track record of settling lawsuits, such as this $3.5 million truck accident lawsuit, and this big rig accident case that settled for $550,000. Our attorneys usually rely upon expert physician testimony and documentation to show the degree of injury and negative life and work outcomes of our clients. But our attorneys would welcome the opportunity to use data from health trackers such as Fitbit to bolster the argument on behalf of our injured clients in some personal injury cases.