Video and Photographic Evidence

One ruling that is helping to shape the discovery process in personal injury cases is the recent case of Target v. Vogel, 41 So.3d 962 (DCA 4th 2010). In this case, the plaintiff's attorney demanded copies of the video and photographs in a slip and fall accident prior to the plaintiff's deposition. The insurance defense attorney argued that this evidence did not have to be produced until after the plaintiff's deposition this evidence and argued that the evidence was attorney work product. The Courts ultimately decided that the video and photos had to be turned over to the plaintiff because they consisted of actual depictions of the accident and were clearly discoverable by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. If the defense is going to use video or photographs of an accident at a trial or such evidence is requested by the plaintiff, the defense has to a duty to disclose that evidence to the plaintiff.

However, this case also makes clear that there is a difference between videos and photos of the accident itself and videos and photos taken after the accident for the purposes of the investigation of a claimant. If the insurance company gets surveillance video on a plaintiff they do not have to disclose it prior to a deposition and can use it to impeach, but they will have to produce the video prior to trial if it is to be shown to the jury. It is crucial for a plaintiff to demand video and photographic evidence at the beginning of the litigation process to prevent surprises later on in the case. It is essential to discuss with your Tampa personal injury attorney how video or photographic evidence may impact your case.