Whilst working from home this week, due to the weather, I have seen on the TV (on in the background whilst I work) on a daily basis a programme called “Claimed and Shamed”. This programme details scammers and those who make fraudulent Personal Injury cases, as well as other fraudulent activity. Todays case was a man who grossly exaggerated his personal injury claim after an accident at work. He was claiming over £900,000 and was secretly recorded by the Insurers carry out activities he had said that he could no longer do. I then turn my attention to PI Brief and read about how an Apple Watch could help in future Personal Injury claims by monitoring the activities of the wearer. When I looked into it further I found that in a case in Canada a firm of Solicitors are using a Fitbit to gather information about the daily activities of the Claimant to show that her lifestyle is now less active as a result of her injuries.
So will this idea cross the pond and be used in the UK by Claimant Solicitors? Well as a catastrophic/serious injury solicitor I think its a great idea. I think it could be used by Claimants to prove the impact of their injuries and the effect on their lifestyle. Currently we seek to rely on medical reports from Experts who only see the Claimants for a limited period of time and who generally ask pre-determined questions which are not necessarily case specific. After which they produce a medical report upon which the claimants compensation will be valued. Yes we can elaborate on the affects the injuries have had on the Claimant, within a witness statement but this is based upon the Claimant being able to remember specifics and above all being believed.
However, will the Insurers and Courts accept the information as evidence. One would hope so given that developments with social media and intelligence gathering on behalf of the insurers is used to attempt to smear the names of some genuine Claimants particularly when they try to link claimants with defendants on facebook, despite facebooks own research which shows that we are all linked on facebook via 4-5 degrees.
It may be the case that the insurers will demand that the Claimants wear the devices during an “assessment” period. If Claimants refuse it will be another way for claims to be struck out.
As with everything there will be pros and cons but if Claimant Solicitors utilise this new technology to their advantage then we will be a step ahead!
FitBit’s are retailing at