Fitness trackers, including devices made by Fitbit, Misfit, and Jawbone, have become more and more popular as a means for people to keep track of their physical activity each day. The wearable devices can track a person’s heart rate, the number of steps they take, exercise intensity, calories burned, and can even measure how much sleep a person gets. The devices use GPS technology, which also keeps a record of a person’s exact location. As beneficial as these devices may be, just how much of an invasion of privacy are they, and can the data collected on the device be helpful – or harmful – to a victim’s personal injury claim?
One example of how the device may be helpful to a personal injury claim is the case of a woman who was injured in an auto accident. The victim, who is a personal trainer, did not own a fitness tracker before the accident occurred. However, following the accident, the woman began wearing the tracker. An independent, third-party company analyzed the data from the woman’s tracker and determined that her activity level was much lower than most women of her age and profession. When compared to other female personal trainers her age, the data suggested that the woman’s injuries may have greatly impacted her physical abilities.
However, data from a fitness tracker can also prove if someone is lying about their activity level or location. This is what happened in a recent criminal case. A woman claimed while staying at her boss’s home in another state that she was attacked by an unknown assailant who broke into the house. When police examined the data on her fitness tracker, they discovered that the woman was up and walking around during the time she claimed that she was in bed before the alleged attack. Police charged the woman with staging the crime scene and filing a false report.
Although this particular example of the negative impact a fitness tracker can have is a criminal case, it could also happen in a personal injury case. For example, an insurance company could try to use data from a victim’s device to show that he or she is much more active than they are claiming to be.
If you have been injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence, it is important to contact an experienced Virginia Beach personal injury attorney immediately to ensure that you are protected against the tactics the insurance company may try against you.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.