Personal driving records from state databases are now off limits to personal injury lawyers thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling.
In Maracich, et al v. Spears, et al, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act of 1994 does not allow personal injury lawyers to troll through private driving records while conducting an “investigation in anticipation of litigation.”<>>
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said lawyers have the right to access the information if they are already representing someone in an ongoing case but the 1994 statute does not allow them to use the information to solicit new clients. <>>
According to Justice Kennedy, the law “has a limited scope to permit the use of highly restricted personal information when it serves an integral purpose in a particular legal proceeding.”<>>
It is one thing for a lawyer to access these records while in the middle of an actual case, but it is quite another thing altogether to access these records while looking for potential cases. The Supreme Court ruling is just common sense. The ruling will not stop personal injury lawyers from trolling for new ways to file lawsuits but at least they can’t access our personal driving records while they are looking for more people to sue.<>>