Thursday, April 17, 2008

Disability, Computing, and the Law

Speaking of computers and security, did you know your computer or hard drive can be subpoenaed/mirrored if you have a medical or disability case? If, to take two examples that don't apply to me, you file workers' compensation or have been in a car accident and request a settlement, your computer can be searched for anything you've said about your health, about your insurance, and about the case as part of the "discovery" process. The defendant will search for any contradictory information or evidence that you are sometimes able/well enough to leave the house, for websites you've visited and health information you've googled. They will drag you through the mud like a rape victim blamed for wearing a short dress. Just a warning, in case you ever consider pursuing such a case. In an insurance case, disagreeing with/not following your physician's recommendations can be used against you, as can having to miss a doctor's appointment. So be careful what you write or type if you're in such a situation, because it can be used against you. On the other hand, a good amount of consistency and a lot of documentation may put the defendant in a very bad light.

Honestly, I can't see how anyone can put themselves through such any medical/disability litigation or civil action except through absolute desperation and need and as a last resort after trying every other avenue over an extended period of time. The process can be exhausting, tiresome, time consuming, and draining. And people with disabilities are particularly short on time and energy, plus dealing with bullying and retaliation could be difficult.

Note: my husband served on a jury for an insurance/medical litigation case, and a relative had a settlement after a car accident almost killed him and left him with apparently permanent limitations. Jurors are not familiar at all with invisible disabilities, the idea that someone may be severely impaired but may not be in a wheelchair. I'm surprised my husband was selected for the case.

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