Deceased’s Cellphone Data May be Mined After Fatal Florida Truck Collision

December 18, 2014 | News

Austin Personal Injury Lawyers

Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) December 18, 2014 – A Florida Appeals Court decision may affect who accesses cellphone data after a fatal accident.

The appeals court’s ruling arises from the death of Tabitha Antico in 2012. Antico, who was 18 at the time of the accident, died after colliding with a truck. Her estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucking company and the truck’s driver. Sindt Trucking Inc. and James Williams were the named defendants in the action.

Initially, a circuit court justice agreed that the defendants could hire an expert to mine Antico’s cellphone data to see if she had been using the phone at the time of the accident. If so, the fault ratio of the case would clearly change. Antico’s estate appealed this ruling, citing breach of privacy.

“Ultimately, the circuit court judge’s ruling was upheld, as were the conditions applied to the inspection of data,” said wrongful death attorney, Brooks Schuelke of Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP. The court did not allow the data to be investigated merely because the defendants alleged the deceased was on her phone or that the phone should be examined because she simply had a phone in the car. “It was not, as the plaintiff insisted, a fishing expedition to see everything. It was a request for specific, time-dated evidence.”

The defendants indicated that cellphone records revealed that the deceased was texting just prior to the collision. Two witnesses stated she might have been texting at the time of the accident. Additionally, evidence submitted by the police suggested Atico was using her cellphone when the wreck happened.

The ruling may open the door for other states to permit the same type of cellphone record investigation in search of specific, time-dated evidence as it pertains to an accident. “Determining liability in any accident is crucial, and if an individual involved in an accident, fatal or not, was using a mobile device at the moment of impact, apportioning fault percentages is easier to determine,” commented Schuelke.

Learn more at http://www.civtrial.com

Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944

View Larger Map

  • Brain Injury News: Ohio State Football Player Found Dead After Head Injuries
    There was tragic head injury-related news out of Ohio this weekend. Yesterday, two individuals sifting through a dumpster in Columbus, Ohio found the body of Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge, who had apparently committed suicide. Karageorge had been missing since Wednesday.  Earlier that day, he sent an ominous text message to his mother that […]
  • Campus Rape Crises
    As the father of a high school girl, the statistics about campus rape and sexual assault rates that scare me to death.  But the stories behind the assaults are much more troubling than the mere numbers. This isn’t something that I would normally write about here, but it is something that is on my mind […]
  • What Should I Do After An Injury?
    The most important thing you can do after your injury is to get the medical care that you need.  This is important on two grounds.  First, it’s obviously important for your health.  Going to the doctor as soon as possible gives the doctor an opportunity to either provide treatment or to send you to a […]

Tags:

Comments are closed.

Flickr Digg Yahoo! Technorati MySpace Delicious RSS