Defending a Medico Legal Case in the Digital Age
In the past, building a medico legal case was largely reliant on thorough desk research, witness statements, and expert witnesses.
Today, this is no longer the case; digital surveillance, social media, and
other technological communication sources can also provide access to information that could be relevant to your case. Although more commonly used in white-collar crime, eDiscoveries are prevalent in many areas of law, particularly as people interact on social media, and almost every movement is tracked either via CCTV footage or through mobile phone GPS.
We operate in a world where the internet offers a network for users to connect, engage and interact with each other. This ease of access and shared information raises serious challenges when bringing or defending medico-legal cases.
Recent Case Study
A surgeon suffered an injury in theater, and due to the resulting pain, could not continue to work. During the case, social media evidence emerged showing the surgeon undertaking a charity climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. Our Expert Witness provided valuable insight to prove that, whilst the surgeon was indeed at this event, her condition meant that, with the support she had in place, she was able to participate in the climb despite her condition. As a result, the claimant won her case and received a substantial settlement.
Issue of Discoverability
Private information can be discoverable if the relevance and necessity of the material are established (typically medical records and photographs). Whilst most social media users can take advantage of privacy settings, posting a photograph to a private audience may seem harmless, but the reality is that users cannot control the sharing of their information.
The rise of social media has given everyone with an internet connection the ability to send, receive and store information in various formats. Sharing and storing information on personal social media accounts can impact legal cases in the same way emails or letters can.
Of particular note are images and videos that are currently dominating social media feeds, as with the surgeon in our case study. Evidence may not just be restricted to images or videos; comments and general online conversations can also be used to support or refute a case.
Whether there is CCTV surveillance video footage or a posting on social media, the era of electronically stored digital information creates a potential minefield. Claimants need to be especially careful and warned that relevant content could be used in a way to compromise or cast doubt on their case.
Expert Witnesses can help in a situation where social media or surveillance evidence is presented that may swing the case for the defence. As specialists in pain-related conditions, our experts provide an accurate diagnosis from a medical and social perspective. Our experts are renowned as leaders in diagnosing and treating pain conditions, so they have a first-hand understanding of how a pain-related condition can affect a person’s well-being. In a situation where social media or surveillance evidence is presented, our experts have the ability to assess the case beyond face value and support either the claimant or the defendant through a robust and factual challenge of the evidence presented to them.