Smartphones & Personal Injury

texting-while-driving

Take this scenario: suppose you’re visiting a local grocery store on a rainy day. Inside the store, you suddenly slip and fall on a pool of water that was not noticeable in the lighting within the building. Upon impact with the ground, you suffer trauma to both your tailbone and the back of your head, leading to pain that lasts for days afterward, necessitating medical attention.

In this instance, you likely have a personal injury case, but you need to be able to prove a few things first. This is where your smartphone comes in.

Gathering Evidence

Phones these days do just about everything, from checking the weather to sending silly pictures to friends on social media. They also have reasonably good resolution cameras included on them, allowing you to snap photos at a moment’s notice.

If you have suffered injuries on a company’s property, your smartphone is a valuable tool in gathering evidence. You can take pictures that will show that the party at fault did not put up proper warning signs of the hazard (in this case, the nigh-invisible puddle of water in the entryway) and that they did not take reasonable measures to ensure the hazard was removed.

Even if your injuries do not appear to be immediately serious, it is still in your interest to keep records of them and the incident, taking photos as appropriate. This can ensure that those at fault for your injury are held accountable and that you get your just due.

The Liabilities

Let’s look at the other side. For a defendant in a personal injury claim, a smartphone can actually be a huge liability, especially in cases where use of the phone was in some way related to the injury. Let’s take a vehicle accident as an example. A driver who hits a pedestrian or another vehicle will find that their own phone can be used as evidence against them since the following information could be accessed:

  • Location:  Most smartphones include a GPS that is utilized by various apps to track the user’s location. This data can be used to analyze a person’s activities leading up to an accident. For instance, if the GPS records show that the driver was at a bar shortly prior to the accident, there may be a good case for drunk driving charges.
  • Timestamps:  Calls, texts, and social media posts made with a smartphone are all timestamped, making it very simple to assess whether someone was texting when involved in an accident.
  • Other factors:  Data on smartphone usage can also indicate other factors involved in an accident. For example, a record of app usage from the night before could be used to show that the driver was operating a vehicle while fatigued.

Even as a smartphone is a benefit to a victim in a personal injury case, it can also be a liability to someone who is at fault.

If you are a victim of personal injury, you need to gather evidence as well as acquire legal assistance. Skilled lawyers, such as those at Hart & David, can help you get your due while holding those responsible accountable for their negligence.

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