Warning: FitBit and Social Media Can Derail Your Personal Injury Case

A Fitbit was used to uncover a woman's false 9-1-1 call.

A Fitbit was used to uncover a woman’s false 9-1-1 call.

We’ve all heard the saying, “be careful what you wish for because it might come true.”

Well, in this age of ever-increasing technology, we may want to change the adage to “be careful what you say, because someone can easily discover that it just is not true.”

Smart Technology Used Against Us

“Smart technology” has made it easier than ever to find evidence that can reveal lies and half-truths. Take this story for example:

A Florida woman who traveled to Pennsylvania called police to report that she was woken in the middle of the night by a stranger who assaulted and raped her.  Responding to her 9-1-1 call, police found overturned furniture, a knife and vodka.

Further investigation, including a review of her Fitbit activity tracker, revealed that the whole scene was allegedly staged! The Fitbit, which monitors a person’s activity and sleep, showed she was actually awake and walking around at the time she claimed she was sleeping.

Police charged her with filing a false police report. Although she hasn’t admitted guilt, a criminal trial is likely later in the year. (Source: LancasterOnline, June 20, 2015).

Most people don’t lie to the extreme like this Florida woman. Yet, the reality is that we all tend to tell little “white lies” to get us through the day.

Our Digital Trail Tells a Tale of Where We’ve Been

Even if you don’t lie at all, everyone has a digital trail showing where they’ve been.

With every online search you do, you’re telling Google things you might not tell your closest friends and family. When you search for a restaurant, you’re telegraphing what you’re craving. If you look up the side-effects of a medication, you might be signaling a condition you have.

Advertisers especially have their hands in the “technology cookie jar.” Major retailers collect huge amounts of information from your browsing history which reveals what you’ve been up to on the Internet.

When you look through your Facebook news feed, do you ever wonder why you suddenly start seeing ads for something that you’ve been searching for on Google? It’s because of your browsing history.

How Social Media Can Ruin Your Personal Injury Case

If you have a personal injury case or even a property damage insurance claim, insurance investigators have been known to monitor your Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages to find evidence that can damage and undermine your case.

Claims adjusters can take a seemingly harmless post of you doing something as part of your rehabilitation and try to turn it against you in front of a jury.

With the advent of Fitbits and Apple’s new watch that tracks activity, the same thing can hold true. In a personal injury case, it’s just a matter of time before insurance companies begin demanding to see the records of your Fitbit to try and “see what you’ve been up to.”

Our digital, data-hoarding culture means more and more evidence piles up to undermine what we are telling people. “The research shows the way lies are really uncovered is by comparing what someone is saying to the evidence,” said Tim Levine, chair of the Communications Studies Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. (Source: The Washington Post, A Peterson, July 8, 2015).

How  Do You Avoid Hurting Your Personal Injury Case?

How do you prevent undermining your personal injury or insurance claim? For one, be careful what you post on social media.  Every time that you post something, remember that an insurance company may be looking it over. Think about how an adversary might try to turn it against you. If it could be harmful, don’t post it.

Second, talk to your personal injury lawyer about social media use at the beginning of your case. Get advice about your social media profiles and what insurance claims adjusters might try to do with your personal information.

If you don’t have a personal injury lawyer, then contact us about your case.

The Best Advice of All

What is the best advice of all?

Always remember the other old adage: “the truth will set you free.”

Just, don’t lie when it comes to your personal injury case.

The preceding educational article was brought to you by the personal injury lawyers of Phillips Garcia Law. It is intended for informational purposes. Always consult a lawyer for qualified legal advice about your personal injury case. For more free information check out our PocketLegalGuides.


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