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Florida Appeals Court Allows Discovery Order of Accident Victim’s Cell Phone Records

Back in 2012, a young woman was killed when she drove into the path of a semi-truck in Suwannee County. According to one report of the accident, the woman was heading eastbound on 216th Street when she entered the intersection of Suwannee County Road 49. Upon doing so, she was side-swiped by a tractor-trailer driven by a 42-year-old Lake City man. The front of the truck collided with the driver’s side of the woman’s car. She was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.

The woman’s family sued the driver of the truck, claiming that he was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, resulting in the young woman’s death. At trial, the truck driver denied responsibility, claiming that the woman was at fault for the accident. The defendant truck driver sought the cell phone records of the young woman, arguing that the woman may have been texting or using her phone at the time of the accident. This issue was recently presented to a Florida appellate court.

In response to the defendant’s request, the plaintiffs cited their loved one’s privacy right in the use of her own cell phone. They claimed that there was no compelling reason to obtain and view the cell phone records, which may expose the private conversations of their passed loved one.

However, in the end, the appellate court upheld the lower court’s order allowing the defendants access to the deceased’s cell phone records. The court explained that there was no less intrusive means to get at the information on the phone, and that the information on the phone was certainly relevant to the proceeding at hand. Indeed, the court noted that the records could actually prove that the young woman was not on the phone or texting at the time of the accident. The court also explained that if the phone’s GPS mechanism was on at the time of the accident, it may shed additional light on exactly how the accident occurred.

In addition, the court implemented a strict procedure where an attorney for the plaintiffs will be present the entire time that the defendant’s expert is viewing the phone records. Copies of the phone’s hard drive will be made for each party, and only nine  hours of records will be able to be viewed.

Have You Been Involved in a Serious South Florida Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any serious Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages to help compensate you for your injuries or losses. However, as you can see from the above case, there may be complex and extensive litigation surrounding auxiliary matters that may become crucial to the outcome of your case. Therefore, it is highly advised to speak with a dedicated South Florida personal injury attorney before proceeding with your case. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Cecere Santana have over 35 years of collective experience handling personal injury matters of all types, including truck accidents. Call 800-753-5529 today to schedule a free initial consultation with a Cecere Santana attorney.

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