A Maryland personal injury case may involve many forms of evidence, including witness testimony, medical bills, photographs and/or video, among others. Generally, non-testimonial items of evidence must be authenticated before they are admitted at trial. Depending on the type of evidence, authentication may be made by a lay witness, or it may require an expert to lay the foundation. In a September 30, 2021 premises liability case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland addressed the requirements to admit digital file metadata of a cell phone picture at trial.
The plaintiff in the case fell on the sidewalk while walking her dogs, suffering a broken right foot, two sprained wrists, and a fractured left knee cap. The plaintiff alleged that she had stepped on a piece of concrete debris on the sidewalk, which caused her to fall. She filed suit against the City, which owned the sidewalks, as well as the contractor hired by the City to repair them.
At trial, the plaintiff’s friend testified that after arriving at the plaintiff’s home to take her to Urgent Care, she went outside and took photographs of the concrete debris with her iPhone, which were later admitted into evidence. The friend also admitted that she had moved the debris so that others would not fall.