In the case of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Karl H. Wallace, Case Numbers 5D17-813 and 5D17-2852, (Fla. 5th DCA December 21 2018), Florida’s Fifth DCA held that a testifying radiologist’s annotations made to MRI films were not admissible into evidence.
What Happened At Trial?
The issue in this case arose when the radiologist for the plaintiff was on the witness stand giving testimony during a trial for a car accident. The radiologist was describing endplate edema and lumbar annular tearing when, to explain his findings, the radiologist used an exhibit that contained typed labels that appeared to “restate” his findings.
State Farm objected stating that the did not have a problem with unaltered images being admitted into evidence. However, State Farm contended that the annotations from the radiologist were opinions that had to be admitted through testimony only as opposed to being superimposed onto the MRI images themselves.
The trial judge admitted the MRI images with the typed opinions on them into evidence. The Fifth DCA said that was improper even though the trial result was not reserved.
Problems With Trial Exhibits
This case illustrates one of the problems with having trial exhibits made. I have seen (and tried) a number of cases where similar exhibits were used but only as demonstrative aids as opposed to actual evidence. In this case, it would have been possible to have “fair and accurate depictions” (which is the required foundation of evidence for images) of the MRI images admitted into evidence as well as the opinions from radiologist through testimony and the medical records.
There should be nothing wrong with using these types of exhibits for demonstrative purposes only but they are not evidence and should not be admitted into evidence.
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