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Technology permeates every aspect of modern life–how we live, work, and interact, from smartphones to social media to artificial intelligence. While technology offers many conveniences and advances, it also introduces new complexities.

One area where technology’s influence continues to expand is in personal injury claims.

Today’s blog explores the intersection of technology and personal injury claims. Our personal injury attorneys in San Diego highlight new innovation-driven trends and discuss enduring challenges as technology influences policy and legal reform.

How Does Technology Impact Personal Injury Claims?

Modern technology is constantly changing the legal landscape. Surveillance cameras have become ubiquitous in public spaces and businesses, continuously recording activity.

This footage often serves as critical evidence in slip and fall cases, auto accidents in parking lots, and other mishaps. Plaintiffs can use this visual record to validate and document claims, while defendants use it to refute negligence accusations.

Social media also plays an emerging role in personal injury cases. Plaintiffs’ public posts can contradict or undermine claims, like photos of them performing activities they stated were limited by an injury. Defense counsel thoroughly reviews profiles for any evidence to discredit allegations of disability or suffering.

Many vehicles now contain telematics systems that constantly generate data through sensors. This data provides insights into speed, braking, location, and seatbelt usage. In motor vehicle accidents, this objective crash data extracted from vehicles can reinforce or cast doubt on negligence and liability claims.

Wearable fitness trackers and smartwatches record detailed activity logs, heart rate, sleep patterns, and other health metrics. If an accident or medical error results in physical impairment, this data can bolster claims by producing evidence of changes in mobility or activity levels. If the data fails to indicate diminished capacity, it may weaken the case’s merits.

As these examples demonstrate, technology offers new sources of evidence for building or contesting personal injury claims.

How Are VR, AR, and 3D Used in the Courtroom?

New technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 3D printing are slowly gaining adoption in personal injury cases as tools for visualization and demonstration.

VR and AR allow attorneys to recreate accident scenes and events to help jurors better understand what transpired. For example, overlaying AR representations of vehicles onto photos of an intersection can illustrate the sequence of a collision. These immersive recreations provide more apparent context than relying solely on descriptions or static images.

3D printing creates tangible models and replicas that serve as exhibits depicting the circumstances around an injury. A printed model of a damaged component or anatomical structure gives jurors an accurate sense of the harm, whereas 2D images may fail to convey the extent of the damage.

Advanced visualization transforms how complex injuries, treatments, and procedures are presented in the medical realm. CT and MRI scans can be converted into 3D renderings to illuminate the anatomy and spatial relationships involved in a case.

Animations can recreate surgical repairs step-by-step for more accessible explanations. These technologies help jurors grasp technical and medical factors as they progress.

What Are the Challenges With Using Technology in Personal Injury Claims?

While technology offers benefits in developing personal injury cases, it also poses new hurdles around privacy and reliability that attorneys must navigate.

Surveillance cameras, telematics data, wearables, and social media provide evidence trails, but leveraging these effectively while respecting privacy boundaries remains tricky.

Defendants gathering video footage or plaintiffs accessing defendants’ data records raise questions about consent and proportional access. The accuracy and credibility of technological data sources also require scrutiny. Data from vehicles, wearables, and surveillance systems can contain errors or omissions that misconstrue circumstances. Social media posts may lack proper context when entered as evidence.

Authenticating tech evidence through expert testimony or additional documentation is critical to avoiding distorted presentations of events. Navigating these hurdles requires balancing clients’ interests with ethical judgment and adapting to technologies thoughtfully.

Digital Evidence Admissibility in Court

For any evidence sourced from technology to be admissible in court, attorneys must satisfy rules around relevance, authenticity, hearsay, and original documentation. Digital evidence raises unique challenges in meeting these standards.

Relevance requires that any surveillance footage, telematics data, social media posts, etc., directly pertain to the circumstances of the case and injury. This requirement prevents submitting out-of-context or misleading information.

Authenticating digital evidence is also crucial but can prove difficult with items like social media screenshots. Plaintiffs must verify accounts belonging to alleged defendants. Confirming validity often necessitates technical expert testimony.

Hearsay rules generally prohibit submitting statements from non-testifying parties and affect using posts by others related to an incident as proof. Exceptions may apply when reports present sense impressions or excited utterances.

Closely tracking the chain of custody for digital evidence is crucial to preserve integrity and prevent tampering accusations. Meticulous records must account for those accessing, transferring, analyzing, and storing any tech-related evidence. Though sometimes burdensome, following proper protocols helps ensure tech evidence benefits clients.

Stay Ahead of the Curve With Legal Assistance From HHJ

Technology is rapidly transforming the personal injury legal landscape.

Tech tools can validate or cast doubt on claims by providing verifiable data trails and visual recreations of incidents. However, they also create new complications surrounding complex digital evidence, such as privacy, reliability, and admissibility.

If you have a personal injury claim and think technology can make a difference for you, contact us for attorneys experienced with technology in personal injury claims.

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