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Expert Witness Requirements in Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits

In addition to the physical evidence presented at a trial, the outcome of a Florida personal injury lawsuit often hinges on the testimony of the plaintiff, eyewitnesses, and expert witnesses. An expert witness is a professional who can testify and provide an opinion on a specific issue during a lawsuit. In Florida, witnesses must have specialized training, education, and experience before they can be qualified as an expert.

In many Florida motor vehicle accidents, expert witnesses may be medical professionals, accident re-constructionists, or engineers that can reliably opine on an issue in the case. Expert witnesses are crucial when no witnesses were at the scene, or there is conflicting information regarding the severity of a party’s injuries. Experts can provide the trier of fact with insight and provide conclusions regarding an accident.

For many years Florida relied on the standard provided in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. In Daubert, the Supreme Court ruled that judges are the gatekeepers when determining whether a professional meets the criteria to be an expert witness. However, more recently, Florida adopted the standard advanced in Frye v. United States.

Unlike the high threshold in Daubert, the Frye standard allows experts to provide their opinion as long as that the technique they used in determining an issue is generally accepted within their scientific community. This standard prevents judges from overstepping their boundaries and allows experts to testify based on their experience, training, and relevant education.

Expert witness testimony is a crucial aspect of a plaintiff’s case, and when an expert is necessary, plaintiffs must retain qualified experts to support their claim. For example, in a recent case, a state appellate court granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The lawsuit stemmed from a fatal accident where a motorist hit a pedestrian while they were crossing a road. The defendant claimed that his car jerked and his windshield shattered, but he did not realize he hit the pedestrian. When he returned to the scene of the accident, he saw the injured pedestrian. The pedestrian’s representative filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. The plaintiff employed an expert witness to support their opinion that the driver was operating his car negligently. However, the expert’s opinion did not help the plaintiff, and instead, the expert admitted that he could not conclude that the defendant was negligent.

This case is a prime example of the importance of a plaintiff’s expert witnesses. Florida plaintiffs should make sure that they retain an experienced attorney who can appropriately vet experts that support and bolster their claims.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida car accident, contact the experienced Florida accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling complex personal injury lawsuits and can help you navigate the challenges that these cases present. Our attorneys can ensure that you have access to the appropriate expert witnesses who may be necessary to prove your claim. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. Compensation may include payment for medical bills, property damages, lost wages, burial and funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. Contact the law firm at 877-499-4878 to schedule your free consultation.