The development and advancement of technology have been a defining aspect of the 21st century, as new technologies and solutions vastly increase our connectivity and access to information. Today, around 88% of all UK adults own a smartphone – a more-than-500% increase since 2008.

Naturally, the increased prevalence of technology – coupled with the breakneck pace of cutting-edge innovation – has had a profound impact across industries in the UK. Law, despite being one of the more important cornerstones of society, is often considered to be the furthest behind in terms of technology. But interventions and innovations in other fields have changed the practice of law in many ways, with medical technology providing particular benefits and challenges to the field of personal injury.

Wearable Technology

Medical technology is a wide-ranging field, but the way in which the average person is most likely to encounter medical tech innovation is through wearable technology. Smart watches and fitness devices like the Fitbit record user data, from footsteps taken to heart rate and beyond.

These devices, and the data they capture, can have a significant influence on the direction of a legal case; personal injury solicitors can use the data collected by a smart device to verify a medical condition, or the time at which an event occurred. This is an overwhelmingly positive impact, lending credence to claimant testimony and quickening the journey to compensation for many – however, potential inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the data itself could potentially cause more harm than good.

AI and Healthcare

The advancement of medical technology has also seen the emergence of new clinical solutions – particularly in the form of artificial intelligence, or AI. AI technology has a number of applications in the medical field, from simple automation of administration and storage of patient data to assistance in diagnosis and treatment.

AI technology also presents a unique set of potential issues, particularly when it comes to a personal injury as a result of medical negligence. If an AI somehow makes an error in treatment, it can be difficult for solicitors to pin down the duty of care; is it the doctor that used the program, or the manufacturer of the program that is responsible? The likelihood of this impacting the average personal injury case is small, but as the technology grows more common, larger cases are sure to set key precedents.

Technological Innovation and Law

The advancement of technological innovation is not just having a direct effect on the content, context, and management of individual cases; it is raising fundamental questions about the suitability of existing and long-standing practices, down to the letter of the law itself. Meanwhile, the growing pace of innovation in other industries is seeing the logistical infrastructure of courts and law firms left behind, leading to existential questions about the law in the modern age.

While these questions are often philosophical in nature, their potential ramifications have seen firms and courts quicker to adopt new technologies – from widely-adopted systems such as remote collaboration technology to industry-specific innovations that revolutionize processes for law firms. This is just as true for personal injury lawyers as for any other field, with smart contracts and AI-assisted administrative software enabling quicker discovery and minimizing errors.

In Conclusion

The intersections of technology and law remain something of an intellectual minefield, as landmark cases continue to shape the law and how it is interpreted. But by and large, the existence of consumer-side medical technologies has enabled more robust evidence and swifter judgments for a majority of personal injury claimants. The emergence of AI in healthcare, meanwhile, is a double-edged sword – improving care and reducing the likelihood of negligence in many cases, but frustrating other cases in terms of responsibility for care.