When an individual is injured as a result of negligence or accidents by another party, his or her quality of life may seriously decline. From trauma and medical issues to loss of income, non-criminal injury can impact a person’s life in a variety of ways.
Most legal entities cite diminished quality of life as one of the largest factors entitling a person or peoples to damages. Quality of life relates to overall well-being as well as an individual’s emotional and financial health. Aside from outright traumas one may experience after an injury, injuries can also result in social isolation, familial or marital stress, and reduced ability to work.
Proving these factors in a trial, however, can sometimes pose difficulties to lawyers. Advocating for an individual who has suffered an injury requires an analysis of the incident which caused the injury, an assignment of blame to a party, and an assessment of the damages which the faulty party owes the victim.
Before technological advances in the 20th century allowed for use of video surveillance, lawyers had the challenging task of proving guilt based solely on eyewitness testimonial. Without a security camera, cellular telephone, or other means of capturing an incident in full, the courts had limited ways of recounting an incident from a neutral perspective. As technology becomes increasingly ingrained in our environments, however, the potential benefits for lawyers and their firms skyrocket.
The first and most obvious advantage that technological tools present in personal injury cases is their ability to provide judges with an account of any given incident, unmanipulated by faulty memories or a desire to misrepresent the truth. Although some many cringe at the thought of increasing surveillance, it has the power to bring more efficient justice to individuals affected by accidents or negligence in their day-to-day lives. From 2015 to 2018, the number of security cameras installed both in private and public locations grew from 47 million to 70 million, with demand expected to keep growing.
Although proponents of greater public freedom and privacy argue that surveillance has not been proven to be an effective means of reducing crime, most of their data focuses on large-scale violence and terrorism. Although systemic abuse of CCTV has been shown in the past, within the confines of an average person’s life, surveillance poses minimal threat and offers a layer of assurance to potential victims.
Secondly, the use of artificial intelligence and virtual reality tools can enable an expert to create accurate reconstructions of an accident or incident in order to more effectively communicate with the courts. Rather than verbally explaining a scenario, a lawyer can show videos mapping out an incident from both a firsthand and bystander’s perspective. This means of adding a visual element to a case allows judges to, in a sense, become either a fly on the wall or place themselves in a victim’s shoes.
Virtual reality technology, much of which is aided by the use of artificial intelligence to create accurate reconstructions, allows for courts to interact with scenes of trauma in ways that were previously impossible. Due to the limits of communication in years past, the true physical or psychological impact of an accident may have previously been lost on judges. The realism of virtual reality allows judges and jurors to interact with the victim’s environment and experiences in ways that traditional verbal arguments and diagrams simply cannot convey.
Another means of streamlining communication between lawyers and the courts is improved medical data. The use of traditional medical illustrations in courtrooms has been criticized for its lack of clarity, with those against its use complaining that they may manipulate outcomes by leaning into jargon and anatomical knowledge that non-professionals simply do not have.
The inclusion of virtual medical aids breaking down the anatomical processes of sustaining a given injury and the physical effects that a party undergoes, however, can eliminate the need for over-explanation that critics cite. Through use of video diagrams, medical professionals now have a means of providing a visual account of what happens within the human body when an individual sustains an injury. These testimonials can be especially useful in jury trials; when in the past everyday citizens would be overwhelmed by medical evidence, there now is a simple, streamlined means of proving injury to the courts.
Technology, with all of its benefits and drawbacks, is a saving grace for the legal community. Many professionals fear its rapid growth, sharing worries of over-automation and job loss in conversations about the use of evolving science. For all of the questions it raises, however, it would be limiting for the legal community to ignore its many benefits. Within trials, implementing artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies is proven to improve outcomes for victims and streamline the sharing of evidence betweens lawyers, judges, and juries. Even in the small picture, firms and laypeople alike stand to benefit from increased use of tech in legal settings. The ability to rapidly connect victims to representation and document accidents as they happen can eliminate much of bureaucratic red tape or lapses in action that stand between an injured party and justice.
Many individuals across the world fear that, in light of quickly-evolving artificial intelligence and the ever-growing use of computers, technology has gone too far. Its continued use in the legal system, however, shows that an inability to adapt can cause more harm than good, and, in many cases, can prevent injured persons from receiving their due damages.