The rapid technological advancements of our time can create implications when the laws surrounding their use are unclear or have yet to be addressed. Our judicial system is often left playing catch-up to legal questions surrounding technology and interaction with people's rights and other issues of public policy. On the one hand, technology can greatly benefit people's access to information, but on the other hand, it is important that people's privacy is respected when such information becomes much more easily accessible by way of technological development.
Our judicial and parliamentary system is always changing and enacting laws to help adequately address the delicate balance between these two competing interests. For this reason, it is a good idea to ensure you are always aware of how your information can be gathered and used against you in court. For example, the development of Google Earth cameras has raised the issue of invasive surveillance, and whether and how this surveillance can be used for evidence in a car accident lawsuit.
Is Google Earth the next "Big Brother"?
Of all the means by which our daily lives can be monitored, Google Earth is not at the top of this list. As it currently stands, evidence gathered by Google Earth cameras is not something to be concerned about; footage of the accident taken from these cameras is not often used in car accident cases. One of the reasons for this is because the pictures that are taken by a Google Earth camera are updated every one to three years. This makes the chance of your appearance on Google Earth extremely unlikely. This is good news considering that the average Canadian is caught on camera an average of 70 times every day.
If an image is captured by Google Earth, can it be used in Court? If so, how?
There are still a small number of instances where footage taken by Google Earth cameras is used in court as evidence against opposing parties in personal injury disputes. They are used to supplement the otherwise commonly-used maps and 3D models to illustrate to a judge or jury about the true nature of the accident. Though its use is technically possible, it would mean that an image would have to be captured at the exact moment of your accident - a very unlikely occurrence.
Are there other means by which a video of my car accident may be recorded?
While there will not be footage of your accident taken by Google Earth, it does not mean that an image or footage of your accident does not exist. In fact, if the accident occurred in a major city, it is more likely than not that it was captured by some nearby street or building camera. Getting access to such footage before they are taped over is difficult and an immediate follow-up investigation would have to be done. This is not often seen other than when police authorities conduct this investigation due to a serious injury or fatality and possible criminal charges being laid.
In personal injury disputes, your own social media presence will be immediately investigated for information about you and your lifestyle. For this reason, your lawyer will warn you about the dangers of being on social media and the impact that it can have on your case. Though you might think that a post is innocuous, opposing parties can be very creative in using that post against your claims. It is usually best to stay away from social media altogether during the duration of your case.
In addition, it is recommended that you seek a lawyer's services if you are involved in a personal injury dispute. This is perhaps the best way for you to protect yourself and your interests since the stakes in a serious car accident can be high. In addition, your lawyer can help you get the highest possible amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.