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Can Fitness Trackers Cause Injuries?

Devices that track personal health and activity statistics have become all the rage. Fitbits, Apple watches, cell phone apps, and other devices all can keep track of an astonishing amount of information about their users. Everything from a person’s heart rate and step counts to sleep patterns and minutes spent exercising. Every fitness tracker device is intended to help users keep tabs on their activity and, in theory, move more. Fitness trackers aren’t without their critics. Several types of potential harm have been pointed out, with varying degrees of substance behind them:
  • Potentially harmful radiation. The science is unsettled on whether cell phones and other similar devices can cause cancer. Some doctors recommend limiting cell phone use in case a connection between the radiation phones produce and certain kinds of brain cancer. Fitness trackers operate at a lower energy level than cell phones, but they can still release a constant stream of low-frequency energy that could theoretically pose a health risk. Only time will tell if such fears are warranted.
  • Over-exercise. Fitness trackers push their users to meet goals based around a general standard that might not be appropriate for every user. People who push themselves to meet the goals set by their trackers may be putting themselves at risk, especially if they have undiagnosed conditions like heart disease that could make exercising dangerous.
  • Anxiety and other mental health. Some people are reporting serious bouts of anxiety and obsessiveness caused by their trackers. Someone who fails to meet the goals set by their tracker might feel stress that affects other parts of their life. People who are prone to problems like eating disorders or depression may develop significant complications as a result of using a fitness tracker.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. A doctor might also help a patient evaluate whether a fitness tracker is the right solution for them. For most people a fitness tracker is probably a good tool, but taking some precautions is probably a good idea. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury cases. If you have been injured we would be happy to provide you with a free attorney consultation about your legal options. Call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Using Cell Phone Memory as Evidence in an Accident Lawsuit

Cell phones are constantly gathering and sending data. Last year a Princeton study determined that some phones even track their users’ location if GPS and location tracking is manually disabled. An individual’s every screen view, not to mention texting or other forms of deliberate use, can be recorded in a phone’s memory. After an accident, all of this data can sometimes offer insights into the causes and responsibility for the accident. In the aftermath of an accident the people involved in the incident typically turn to their insurance companies for help resolving issues of fault and compensation. In a minor accident, such as one involving damages that don’t exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits, questions of evidence may not arise. The two insurers may simply resolve the case following a routine process. A more complex accident case, however, may hinge on a close analysis of the facts surrounding the case. This can be especially important if the accident involved significant personal injuries, where the amount of potential liability is large. In such cases, both sides have a substantial incentive to uncover evidence that is favorable to their position. Cell phone data can be one source of such evidence. Here are some examples:
  • Phone data that shows that the individual was texting or using data functions, like a web browser, at the time of the accident.
  • Data that contradicts testimony. For example, if a defendant is suspected of having been under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident, but there is no police toxicology report in evidence, the defendant’s phone may reveal that the defendant visited a pot dispensary shortly before the accident.
  • Data to prove concrete details about the accident itself. An individual may have taken video or photographs in the lead-up to the accident, or afterward. If those records don’t support the individual’s case, the individual may unlawfully try to delete them.
Getting ahold of cell phone evidence can be a challenge. Evidence can be subject to a subpoena, a court order that requires a party to provide the evidence to the other side even against objections. Some forms of data are not readily accessible to users and may require additional technical steps that require the help of outside consultants. If an individual has tried to delete information, the information may need to be recovered using special software. If the evidence can be used to prove a key component of a case, these efforts are worth the customary expense. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and accident cases. We are happy to provide free attorney consultations to individuals who have been injured in an accident. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Are Virtual Racing Apps Liable for Injuries?

Are Virtual Racing Apps Liable for Injuries?
The intersection of social media, GPS-enabled devices, and sport has raised a lot of interesting legal questions over the last decade. Virtual racing apps let runners and cyclists compete for best times on specific routes or over set distances. Competition on the leader boards can be intense. The drive to win can push participants to go fast—so fast they can lose control. But do the makers of these apps bear any legal responsibility for injuries sustained by users?

The case of Kim Flint

In 2010 a cyclist was killed in Berkeley, California, while trying to regain his status as the fastest rider on a steep downhill section of road. The rider, William “Kim” Flint, had recently lost the position of “King of the Mountain” for that stretch of road on Strava, a cycling app and social media website. Strava uses GPS data from riders to track speed on user-created “segments” and posts the best times on its website. Mr. Flint was racing against the current top time on the segment when he braked to avoid an oncoming car, flipping his bicycle and resulting in fatal injuries. Mr. Flint’s family sued Strava on grounds of negligence, arguing that the website should have taken responsibility for the safety of riders on dangerous segments of road by taking down especially risky segments. But in 2013 a San Francisco court granted summary judgment in Strava’s favor. The judge cited Mr. Flint’s implied assumption of the risk of bicycling as the reason Strava could not be held liable for his death.

Assumption of risk in Nevada

The assumption of risk is a legal defense used in cases where an injured plaintiff seeks damages for personal injury. When the plaintiff knew about the dangers involved in an activity and voluntarily exposed himself or herself to those dangers, the defendant can escape liability. See Sierra Pac. Power Co. v. Anderson, 77 Nev. 68, 71 (1961). It seems likely that if a case like Mr. Flint’s were to come before a Nevada court, the assumption of risk rule would lead to a similar result as what was seen in San Francisco. However, the result in any case will depend upon the facts of the injury and the interpretation of the judge who considers them. In Mr. Flint’s case, the judge concluded that bicyclists assume the risk of accidental injury. That conclusion suggests that bicyclists in particular could face a difficult challenge seeking redress for injuries suffered in an accident. In a case involving other facts, perhaps the conclusion that Mr. Flint had assumed the risk of injury would have been less clear. For example, if Strava had taken steps to limit the dangers on steep downhill segments, perhaps it would have assumed some degree of responsibility for those segments. Cf. Wright v. Schum, 105 Nev. 611 (1989).

GGRM can answer your questions about sports injuries

If you are a runner or cyclist who has been injured while competing in a virtual race the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez can help you understand your legal options. For over 45 years we have helped injured clients in the Las Vegas area recover the compensation they deserve. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.

The Evidentiary Role of Modern Car Computers

The Evidentiary Role of Modern Car Computers
Modern cars record an incredible amount of information. After an accident, data from a car’s memory can reveal details that the car’s driver couldn’t know. Sometimes a car’s memory will reveal that a driver’s recollection of the accident is flawed or self-serving. Other times it can prove that a driver is telling the truth.

The kinds of data a car records

Modern cars are loaded with electronic sensors that pass an enormous volume of information to devices called Electronic Control Modules, or ECMs. Since the mid-1990s all cars sold in the United States have been required to comply with the Onboard Diagnostic II (OBD II) Standard, which standardized the format and type of data collected by ECMs. OBD II systems collect information for use by mechanics who are diagnosing problems with a car, emissions inspectors, and accident investigators. The specific data gathered by a car’s OBD II system will vary by manufacturer, but generally includes things like accelerator and brake pedal positions, engine RPMs, and error or warning signals. Some cars also collect details like the vehicle’s pitch and yaw, seatbelt status, and the weight of passengers. The introduction of onboard navigation systems and other Internet-connected tools has added another category of computer to the modern car. These systems not only gather data about where a car has been. They also record speed, cross-referenced to the location’s speed limit, time information, and other details that car manufacturers sell to third parties.

The use of car data in a lawsuit

The information gathered by a car’s computer can become significant in a lawsuit that follows an accident in a number of ways. OBD II information can be extracted from a car using specialized readers. The availability of information from non-OBD II systems, like navigation computers, will depend on whether the information is stored locally or only on the system’s remote servers, and whether the owner of the system allows consumers to access it. The key thing to understand about a car’s electronic data is that it can be exceptionally compelling evidence of pivotal details about an accident. Did the driver accelerate or brake? Was the driver speeding? Was there a mechanical problem with the car that contributed to the accident? Technical details are perceived—often correctly—as more reliable than human recollections about an event. Digital records often can’t tell the entire story about an accident. A car’s data won’t necessarily reflect things like what the driver saw, whether the driver was distracted, and whether external factors like roadway conditions played a role. But it’s important to take car computer data into account when building a case.

GGRM understands car accident litigation

For more than 45 years, the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has worked with clients in the Las Vegas area to get the compensation they deserve for injuries from car accidents. For a free attorney consultation, reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to call you through our contacts page.