If you are in Florida and have an accident at Publix, there will likely be a video of the incident. All Publix grocery stores have closed-circuit cameras for purposes of theft prevention and to record any type of injury incident. Many of my clients expect that this video will be turned over to us, their personal injury lawyer, immediately. However, the law in Florida is such that Publix is not required to turn over the video until after a lawsuit is filed. Even more questionable is whether the video will be produced prior or after deposition.
Publix was one of the first grocery stores to delay the production of the video until after the injured person’s deposition. In McClure v. Publix Supermarkets, 124 So.3d 998 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013), the plaintiff was injured in a slip and fall at a Florida Publix store. During the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s lawyer asked for the video of the slip and fall prior to the deposition. Publix refused to turn over the video until after the deposition. Surprisingly, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that there would be no harm to the plaintiff if she answered questions about the slip and fall without seeing the video.
However, Florida court decisions over when Publix and other businesses have to produce the video of the incident has evolved over time. In Pinellas County, the courts have generally decided to require the production of the video prior to the deposition. Other Florida courts have agreed. In a recent case from January 30, 2019 in the Third District Court of Appeal, the trial judge allowed the production of the in-store surveillance video before the plaintiff’s deposition. In affirming the trial court’s order, the Third DCA said that the majority of courts across the country allow the production of the video prior to deposition and videos should not be withheld until after a plaintiff’s deposition unless specific factual circumstances provide for a contrary result.
The philosophy of the courts in Florida seems to accept the trend of allowing the production of the in-store video prior to deposition. By not allowing the video, personal injury lawyers and their clients in Florida are faced with an unfair memory test. If Publix and other businesses are not required to turn over the video, then their lawyers have the advantage of asking questions in an effort to poke holes in the account of what happened. The defense lawyers then use these holes to call into question the veracity of the person’s testimony. In other words, the defense lawyers argue that if the person was not completely accurate about what happened during the incident, he or she also cannot be believed about their injuries either. This is simply an unfair technique for no other purpose other than to attack a plaintiff.
Most personal injury cases or slip and fall accidents at stores like Publix occur within a matter of seconds. These accidents are unexpected and sometimes there are no witnesses. Depositions can take place months or years after the incident when memories have faded. Most people who have sustained injuries during the incident are not looking around at the time to take an accounting and are often in pain and disoriented by the incident. Fortunately, in Pinellas County, Publix and other businesses are required to produce these videos in the litigation. Often, we are able to get the video through a confidentiality agreement so that our clients are able to review what happened before they are questioned by insurance defense lawyers.
Contact a Publix Slip and Fall Attorney
If you or a loved one have been involved in a Publix Slip and Fall Attorney, then you should take the proper measures to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas today and speak with an attorney. For over 60 years our firm has been successfully helping people who have been injured due to someone else’s carelessness. We have been nationally ranked for decades by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 law firm, which is the highest ranking that can be received. Sean McQuaid and Jonathon Douglas have dedicated their careers to continuing the firms legacy of superior legal representation.
Remember that we never charge a fee, unless we win. Call us today at 727-381-2300 so that we may answer your questions, help you navigate the complexities of insurance claims, and recover the compensation that you deserve.
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St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas
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St. Petersburg, FL 33707