Florida medical malpractice and personal injury lawyer discusses whether a person injured in Florida has to provide copies of their tax returns.
You've been injured in a Florida accident or by medical malpractice. Because of your injuries you have missed time from work, have to change careers or possibly cannot work again for the rest of your life. You bring a claim against the person who injured you and they request to a see a copy of your tax returns – do you have to provide a copy of your tax returns?
This is a question and a discussion that I have with a lot of clients. Folks are very protective of their privacy interests and especially their income or what is on their tax returns.
The answer to whether you have to provide a copy of your tax returns – depends on a number of factors:
- What is the nature and extent of your wage loss or loss of future earning capacity?
- Are there less intrusive means, such as, pay check or payroll stubs that will support the claim?
- Is the injured person paid a straight hourly wage?
- Are you self employed?
- If you're self employed – do you receive a regular wage or do you just take the money left over at the end of the year?
These factors will have to be looked at and balanced against the client's privacy rights.
Florida's law on whether an injured person has to produce their tax returns
The answer comes down the scope of discovery. Florida has a broad scope of discovery. The law says that information that is relevant to the claim (if a client is making a wage loss claim – financial information is relevant) that is not privileged (information pertaining to compensation would not be privileged if the client is making a wage loss claim).
If the client is making a wage loss claim and there is no alternative means of proving the claim up – parts of the tax return will have to be given to the other side's insurance company or lawyer. If there are reasonable alternatives of providing this information to the other side – a good argument could be made to the court that the tax returns should not have to be produced to the other side.
Florida personal injury law is complex. These matters need to be discussed with clients before claims are made and/or lawsuits filed. This way, the required proof can be obtained up front so fights over the material do not happen along the way.
I you have any questions about a Florida personal injury or medical malpractice claim, give me a call at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the internet consultation form on the right hand side of the screen.