car accident attorneyProving Your Car Accident Injuries

Fitness trackers can do just about anything these days. Fitness trackers collect data about people’s movements, whereabouts, and heart rate. Most fitness trackers come with an app that stores data over periods of weeks, months, or even years, identifying patterns in sleep, activity, and vital signs.

If you are in a car accident and suffer injuries as a result, information recorded on your fitness tracker can help prove the extent of your injuries by showing a decrease in physical activity or an interruption in sleep patterns after the accident. Of course, this same data can have the opposite effect as well.

Read on to learn just how impactful your fitness tracker can be if you are involved in a car accident case.

How Many People Use Fitness Trackers?

The demand for eServices is surging. The eService market has two components: 

  • Portable fitness devices or “wearables”
  • Fitness apps

According to recent Statista Digital Market Outlook data, ehe eService industry in general has increased by 51.5 percent since 2017, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In 2020, approximately 441.5 million people wore fitness trackers connected to fitness apps. Fitness trackers are portable data devices that you can wear on your body. Based on recent projections, fitness trackers are here to stay, and people are finding new ways to use the data they collect. 

What Do Fitness Trackers Do?

Fitness trackers can record data on just about everything that happens in a person’s body. They can record:

Resting heart rate

  • Active heart rate
  • Location
  • Amount of sleep
  • Quality of sleep
  • Number of calories burned
  • Blood pressure
  • Body composition

Also, fitness trackers can be paired with a fitness app, with which a person can voluntarily record or participate in other activities. These may include:

  • Entering nutrition details or calories consumed
  • Recording the amount of water consumed
  • Posting photos
  • Interacting with a community of other app users
  • Creating goals and milestones

All of these activities make fitness trackers and apps extremely useful for staying informed about:

  • What your body is doing at any given time 
  • How well your body is functioning
  • What you can do to improve your body function

These are the primary pieces of data that a fitness tracker and app can provide. But in recent years, attorneys have realized that this data can be very useful evidence in a personal injury case.

How Can Fitness Trackers Assist in a Car Accidents Case?

There are two main ways that fitness trackers can prove useful in a car accident case: 

  • Providing location information
  • Supporting medical claims

Providing Location Information

Fitness trackers usually have some form of GPS component that continuously reports location data to the app associated with the tracker. This means that fitness tracker data may be able to pinpoint the exact location of an accident. Depending on how advanced the fitness tracker is, it may be able to show the trajectory of the accident. For example, if your car spun off the road after being hit, there may be a record of the exact movement of the car recorded on the fitness tracker’s GPS system. 

Additionally, you may be able to pinpoint the exact time of the accident. This may be possible strictly through the GPS component if it logs your location according to exact time. However, even if the GPS component does not provide such precise data, you likely can pair the GPS data with other recorded data that shows your vital signs, such as heart rate. Your heart rate will inevitably spike as you anticipate and then actually experience a collision. Although this evidence may not be sufficient on its own, it may support other evidence that you are able to provide in supporting your claims about your accident. 

Supporting Medical Claims

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be in a position where you have to provide evidence of your injuries to an insurance company or a court. Some injuries are quite easy to document, such as a broken leg or an injury that required extensive surgery. However, other injuries may not be so obvious. For instance, after a car accident, you might experience: 

  • A sore back
  • Decreased mobility
  • Lethargy or exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of sleep
  • Other lingering symptoms

These types of injuries can be difficult to prove, and the medical evidence alone might not present the most convincing case possible. This is where fitness tracker data can come in handy. 

If you have a history of using a fitness tracker, the data collected will show your typical daily routine. For example, if you usually wake up at a certain time and go for a run in the morning, that information will show up in your fitness tracker data. Likewise, if your job is an active one that keeps you on your feet most of the day, this will be reflected in your daily step patterns recorded on your tracker.

If you have reduced mobility after your accident or if you are just unable to exercise in the same way, the data on your fitness tracker will reflect that change. With this data, you will be able to show that you have stopped your morning run or demonstrate that you are unable to be as mobile at work as you were before your accident. You might even be able to show that your sleep is consistently more restless with frequent interruptions, which you can use to support your claims of ongoing anxiety, pain, or disability. While this kind of data may not be sufficient by itself to prove a medical claim, it can bolster other medical records and evidence that you might present.

What Are the Downsides to Fitness Trackers?

Just as the data recorded on your fitness tracker can support your personal injury case, there is always the risk that the recorded data can be used against you. 

When the data recorded on your fitness tracker is revealed, it may indicate that the accident happened differently from how you remember and reported it. The data might even be able to show how fast you were going at the time of the accident, which may not work in your favor, even if the other driver was being negligent. It is important to remember that if you decide to present fitness tracker data to the insurance company or to the opposing side in a court case, they will be able to look at all of the data that is recorded and use it to their own benefit as well. 

Your fitness tracker data can be used against you not just in reconstructing the accident, but also with respect to proving your injuries. Perhaps the data shows that your average level of activity declined significantly after your car accident. You might want to use that data to support that you are now experiencing long-term pain or decreased mobility. However, the insurance company or opposing counsel might be able to locate information you posted in the social area of your fitness app. Perhaps those comments reveal that the change in your routine is tied to something other than the accident. If that is the case, the insurance company or opposing counsel can use those comments to explain away your fitness tracker data. 

Alternatively, the insurance company or opposing counsel might look at the data and see that even though there may be decreased activity, there are no sleep interruptions or changes in heart rate patterns that would indicate ongoing pain or difficulty moving around. In that case, the insurance company or opposing counsel could suggest that your decrease in activity was just an unrelated choice that you made rather than a consequence of the accident. 

It is important to remember that although your fitness tracker data can be helpful to you in your case, it also can be used against you if you try to present it as evidence. Before you set out to use the data on your fitness tracker to support your case, it is best to speak with an attorney to be sure you know what data is recorded on your tracker and how it could be used in your case. The attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, can help you assess this data and determine how helpful or harmful it may be to you in your case. 

Brian Wallace
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Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney