6/12In Poston v. Wiggins, Florida’s First District Court of Appeals ruled that a couple suing for injuries sustained in a car accident is entitled to get the other driver’s pharmacy records for the year leading up to the crash.
Mr. and Mrs. Wiggins were involved in a car accident with Mrs. Poston while Poston was backing out of a parking space. The couple sued Poston for negligence. In an answer to the Wiggins’ complaint, Poston denied liability. She also said that she was not injured in the accident and provided information about her prescription medication use in the 12 hours prior to the crash. Prior to trial, however, Poston testified in a deposition that her osteoarthritis had gotten worse since the accident and provided additional information about her prescription medication usage.
The Wiggins’ later sought to obtain Poston’s pharmacy records for the year leading up to the accident as well as medical records from her treating physician from the date of the accident going forward. They claimed that Poston had given contradicting information about her medication use and seemed to indicate in the deposition that the osteoarthritis had been made worse as a result of the accident.
Poston resisted the discovery requests, claiming that the information sought was irrelevant because she had not filed a counterclaim against the couple and did not allege that she suffered bodily injury in the accident. Citing “the existence of inconsistencies,” however, a trial court found that the Wiggins’ were entitled to the information and documentation requested.
On appeal, the First District agreed that Poston was required to divulge the pharmacy medication information. “In the instant case, the pre-accident pharmacy records appear to be relevant to the issue of negligence in the case and are potentially discoverable,” the court explained. Meanwhile, the court said that any harm to Poston’s privacy interests posed by turning over the records was “premature and speculative.”
Specifically, the court pointed out that she could seek a protective order after producing the documents, which would require the trial court to review the documents and hear arguments on relevance and privilege before releasing them. Poston could also appeal the decision in the event that the protective order was denied.
Nevertheless, the court found that the post-accident medical records should not be subject to discovery because they were not relevant to the case at hand. In particular, the court found no inconsistency between Poston’s assertion that she had not been injured in the crash and her later statement that her osteoarthritis became worse after the accident. “There is nothing in the petitioner’s testimony to suggest that her condition worsened as a result of the accident rather than from the mere passage of time since the accident and her deposition testimony,” the court concluded.
Medical and other records are often the key to a Florida car accident case. A competent, experienced attorney who is well-versed in the discovery process can provide crucial assistance in gathering and interpreting this information. The South Florida car accident lawyers at Anidjar & Levine have vast experience representing clients in car accident cases throughout the region, including in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Hialeah. If you were recently injured in a car accident, contact us for a free consultation.
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