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Fitness Bands Impacting Personal Injury Litigation

The latest craze in personal fitness comes in the form of bands people wear on their wrist. The bands proclaim to monitor steps, sleep and heart rate. Commercially, they go by the names Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Misfit, Garmin, Mio and others. The information gathered by the band is downloaded to a computer or smartphone app and analyzed. The user can enter their food consumption and the app then calculates calories burned compared to calories consumed. There are also smartphone apps that count steps and rate of calorie burn. The idea of these devices and apps is to assist in weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The bands work by monitoring the movement of your arm or through target heart rate censors. Unfortunately, precision of data displayed by fitness bands leaves much to be desired. The data can vary from device to device and can be affected by unintentional movements, excessive gestures or keeping an arm in the pocket. There is no scientific accuracy to the information gathered and displayed in the program or app nor is there scientific accuracy to the analysis conducted.

So what does this mean in the context of personal injury litigation? Possibly a lot. For instance, if someone claims that his/her injuries effect sleep patterns or ability to walk long distances, the information on the person’s fitness band could be helpful or hurtful in corroborating that claim. Downloading and sharing the information as part of proof in a case may be difficult. Furthermore, because the information cannot be scientifically established, it will most likely not be admissible at trial.

As technology advances, there will be more and more ways of gathering data about a person’s life. Be aware of fitness bands and other devices that monitor aspects of a person’s life and how that information may impact civil litigation.


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