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Will Future Technology Make Trials Obsolete?

What if insurance companies didn't have to ask you any questions after a car accident? What if they could attach some wires to your head, turn a few dials, and download your memories of the accident?

The popular science fiction series "Black Mirror," on Netflix, explored this possibility in a recent episode, and the implications of insurance companies, attorneys, and governments forcibly taking your memories are both fascinating - and terrifying.

If this kind of technology did exist, and it was reliable, would there even be a need for trials or courts or attorneys? Trials are fact-finding missions designed to determine what happened, how it happened, and who is at fault.

As far as we know, this technology doesn't exist - yet - but brain researchers have developed technology such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that they claim maps blood flow and electrical activity in the brain well enough to determine if you are lying or not - possibly the next battleground in polygraph technology.

Memory Mining Technology May be Useless Because Memory is Not Reliable

Any time this kind of new technology emerges, courts must determine if the information it can provide is relevant and accurate enough to be used as evidence.

Sometimes new technologies that law enforcement and businesses believe is useful doesn't pass muster in court - think of the polygraph test, which is often used in criminal investigations and hiring processes but is not admissible in court. This is because research shows that it's not ... well, reliable.

There are probably some insurance executives out there who get excited when they watch sci-fi shows like "Black Mirror" or read articles about the promises of fMRI technology. But even if it were possible to mine people's memories, the evidence suggests that even your memories are not reliable.

Our memories are not like static films. Every time you access a memory, it changes.

In fact, there is evidence that during a traumatic event such as a car accident, your brain often focuses so intensely on survival that it is incapable of creating any memory of the event. This is a problem even for eyewitness testimony, which has been proved to be quite unreliable and a primary cause of wrongful convictions.

If memories are not as accurate as we think they are, what good would it do to have a technology that "reads" memories?

Gathering Evidence, The Old-Fashioned Way

If you are in a car accident, insurance companies and police will not - for now - wire up your head and extract your memories. But they will want answers. If you have been injured, it is critical that your attorney knows these answers before filing a SC personal injury claim.

That's why it's important to use whatever good old-fashioned technologies you have - such as cameras and pen and paper - to gather as much information as you can.

After an accident, you can immediately begin collecting evidence at the scene of the accident. If you are able, you should:

  • Take photos of the scene and of all vehicles that were involved;
  • Take photos of any injuries you suffered;
  • Ask witnesses what they saw, and try to get their names and contact information; and
  • Talk to the responding law enforcement officer to make sure they are getting accurate information.

As soon as you have done everything you can at the scene, you should notify your insurance company that you've been involved in an accident - but do not give them details or answer any questions before speaking with your SC auto accident attorney.

If the other driver's insurance company contacts you, do not speak to them at all until you've consulted your attorney. Remember, they will be fishing for details they can use to deny or limit any claim you make.

Got Axelrod?

Your Myrtle Beach auto accident attorney at Axelrod and Associates will investigate your crash, gather the evidence that you need, negotiate maximum compensation from the insurance company, and take them to trial if they do not pay.

Schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team today. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form to set up a free initial consultation about your case.

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