The best example in personal injury cases is texting-while-driving, which is a big deal in motor vehicle crash personal injury cases these days. Most personal injury attorneys would love to have proof that the opposing party was texting at the moment of the collision. Unfortunately, that’s probably not realistic. However, what we can show is the activity leading up to that collision. For example, if the opposing party was on their way home from work and we know this to be a 20 minute commute and the collision happened 7 minutes into the drive, that’s one piece of the puzzle. If they were involved in a text conversation prior to and during that 7 minutes directly leading up to the collision, that’s another piece. If they were also searching for places to order pizza on their mobile internet for when they got home, that’s yet another piece. All of these instances are recorded on the device with dates and times and sometimes, specific location. In the case of Facebook Messenger, messages that are sent routinely have the geo-location (latitude & longitude) of where the person was when the message was sent, providing a message-by-message diagram of where they were, further bolstering the claim that they were in fact texting-while-driving directly prior to that collision. What’s even better, this information can’t be deleted or altered by most end-users.
Texting-while-driving is probably the most universally understood example of the value of digital forensics in personal injury cases, but it’s just one example. The overall point is, if you have any evidence that a mobile device was involved in the injury of another, it pays to call a digital forensic consultant as soon as you know. It’s best for the client, it’s best for you and it helps everyone get on with their lives much quicker in the wake of what may have been a tragic accident.Author:
Patrick J. Siewert, SCERS, BCERT, LCE
Professional Digital Forensic Consulting, LLC
Based in Richmond, Virginia
About the Author:
Patrick Siewert is the Principal Consultant of Pro Digital Forensic Consulting, based in Richmond, Virginia. In 15 years of law enforcement, he investigated hundreds of high-tech crimes, incorporating digital forensics into the investigations, and was responsible for investigating some of the highest jury and plea bargain child exploitation cases in Virginia court history. A graduate of both SCERS and BCERT (among others), Siewert continues to hone his digital forensic expertise in the private sector while growing his consulting business marketed toward litigators, professional investigators and corporations.