According to the Florida Bar, the Daubert Standard has a large impact on the admissibility of expert witness testimony. Relatively recent changes to Florida’s laws impact how victims seeking damages and recoveries can use expert witness testimony to support their cases. Many personal injury cases employ the testimony of expert witnesses, such as doctors, to explain to judges and juries the nature of a victim’s injuries and to show damages. Expert witnesses can explain to a judge or a jury expected recovery times, expectations regarding long term care, and can help personal injury lawyers justify the amount of money they are seeking for compensation on behalf of their clients. The defense is likewise permitted to hire expert witnesses to support its own claims.
Yet, the revised standards for expert witnesses may change the way auto accident lawyers go about choosing their witnesses. Florida courts use the Daubert Standard. According to Cornell University Law School, the Daubert Standard is an assessment made by a judge to determine whether an expert’s testimony is based upon scientific reasoning and valid scientific study. The judge will often ask several questions about how an expert witness went about presenting evidence. First, the expert witness’s technique must be testable and must have been tested. Secondly, the judge will consider whether any evidence or expert testimony has been subject to peer review. Next, the judge will ask about possible margins of error, and whether controls were used in any studies. Finally, the judge will consider whether the methodology or results are accepted in the scientific community.
These standards significantly raise the bar for expert testimony presented in a case and they also limit who can present expert testimony. Expert opinion, on its own, is no longer allowed. Previously, courts used the Frye test, which required that statements being made in court meet the standards of general acceptability in the field to which the person belongs. The Daubert Standard can have immense implications for certain personal injury lawsuits. For example, in a case where a worker is claiming that workplace stress led to a miscarriage, the victim suing will have to present relevant studies to the court to show how stress on the job, or how stress in general, can result in a miscarriage. If the victim wants to use an expert witness, the victim will have to find an expert witness who has performed studies on stress and miscarriage or who has worked on the studies, to testify in court.