KFB discusses the perils of high-tech devices and their implications for personal injury law
The benefits of advanced technology have transformed our lives. High-tech devices help us with our daily tasks and make sure that we are using our time efficiently. High-tech devices like smart TVs and cell phones can also provide much-needed entertainment.
Most people do not stop to think about the potential dangers which are inherent in the use of high-tech devices. When using these devices, there is a risk of personal injury to the operator and to those around them. A qualified personal injury attorney may be able to help injured parties claim the compensation they deserve.
Cell Phones and Distracted Driving
The smartphone is of particular concern to safety experts. Smartphones often pull a driver’s attention off the road, causing them to lose important seconds of reaction time. The various ways in which a smartphone can distract a driver include emails, text messages, and social media notifications. Simple conversations on the phone can also be problematic.
Even simply looking down at a phone for 5 seconds when the vehicle is traveling at 55 miles per hour can result in the driver’s attention being elsewhere for the full length of a football field. Pedestrians and other vehicles are at risk when drivers do not have their eyes on the road.
The crash statistics for distracted driving are sobering. This includes drivers who are distracted by smartphones. Heads-up “infotainment” displays built into cars can be just as distracting for the driver. Other forms of driver distraction include eating, checking GPS displays, talking with passengers, and playing music too loudly.
Each day in the United States, distracted driving crashes claim 9 lives and injure more than 1,000 people. The National Safety Council believes that such crashes could be under-reported, with as many as > 27 percent of all accidents caused by distracted driving.
Many health-conscious people have adopted wearable technology. Industry experts claim that one in six people own a wearable device. Wearable technology can track health and fitness milestones, helping these users organize their lives with a mind toward improving their physical condition. Wearable tech can also provide phone and email notifications from the linked smartphone.
Smart Insights forecasted that there would be 560 million wearable tech devices in the United States by the year 2021. Smart Insights also found that smartwatches represent 16 percent of the wearable tech market.
Wearable technology may seem like a benefit for everyone, but personal injury attorneys are aware of the potential for claims. Wearable tech can complicate personal injury cases because it introduces another area of evidence which may or may not be admissible in court.
Wearable tech includes GPS tracking information, heart rate, and movement data. This may mean that a plaintiff’s claim of injury could be challenged.
For example, if an injured patient finds that they need to run for some reason, such as chasing a child or pet running into the road, wearable tech will pick up on this movement. A personal injury attorney may be able to use this information in support of their case.
Personal injury law experts are still trying to determine how much of this information should be admissible in court. Tech users often overlook the mine of data on their wrist when they are claiming personal injury. This could potentially cause the courts to cite them for withholding information. If they delete this data, they could also be cited for destroying evidence unintentionally.
Unexpected Hazards from High-Tech Toys
Smartphones and wearable devices are not the only tech products which could cause personal injury lawsuits. The use of tech toys like drones and hoverboards needs to be taken into consideration.
Hoverboards are another good representative of the potential dangers posed by careless use of technology. Most of the victims in this case are children, meaning that legal experts need to take a long and close look at liability issues in this area.
Hoverboards do not only injure users through falls and entanglement. These devices can also cause burns and fires caused by overheating during charging. Entanglement can also be a serious problem, as a user’s hair or clothes could be caught in the mechanism and cause injury.
In the journal Pediatrics, a 2018 study found that over 26,800 children and teens were injured by hoverboards over a two-year period.
Taking Care with Technology
A Tampa personal injury attorney can help injured victims look into their possible recourse against the party responsible for their pain and suffering. People need to think about the possibility of injury before using a high-tech device in an unsafe manner.