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Florida Supreme Court Says Daubert Standard Governs Admissibility of Expert Testimony

If you have been injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident or any other type of personal injury accident, you may be able to recover monetary damages for your harm. Our Miami injury lawyers understand how to build a strong case, including the use of expert witnesses, as and when needed. In Florida, the standard that governs the admission of expert testimony just changed, which some believe will make it harder for injured plaintiffs to establish their claim. For this reason alone, it is more important than ever that you choose your injury attorney wisely.

We often think that the law is fixed and unchanging when the truth is that standards, rules and procedures change all the time. The Florida Supreme Court recently held that the Daubert standard, as opposed to the Frye standard, governs the admissibility of expert evidence in Florida courts. Over the last ten years, the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Legislature have grappled with the appropriate standard for the governing standard on expert testimony. In 2013, the Florida Legislature adopted the Daubert standard. In 2017, however, the Florida Supreme Court declined to adopt Daubert on procedural grounds. The Florida Supreme Court, however, recently reversed the 2017 ruling and Daubert is now the standard in all federal court cases and in the majority of state courts as well.

The general premise of the Frye standard is that an expert opinion is admissible if the scientific technique on which the opinion is based is “generally accepted” as reliable in the relevant scientific community. This was almost a universal standard in courts throughout the country after the Supreme Court’s 1923 decision in Frye v. US.

In 1993, however, the Supreme Court overruled Frye in federal courts in the case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and instead created a multi-prong test to evaluate the admissibility of expert witness testimony. In determining whether expert testimony should be admitted, the following must be considered under Daubert:

  • Whether the technique or theory in question can be tested;
  • Whether the technique or theory has been peer reviewed;
  • The technique or theory’s potential error rate;
  • The existence of standards and controls this technique must follow; and
  • Whether the broader scientific community has accepted the technique or theory.

Perhaps the greatest difference between Frye and Daubert is the broadened approach. While Frye focuses on one question: whether the expert’s opinion is typically accepted by the relevant scientific community – Daubert offers a number of factors to consider, which is generally considered a more onerous standard.

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be able to recover compensation for your harm. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our diligent and reputable Miami injury attorneys understand how to build a strong case, including the evidence needed to establish the claim. We carefully prepare each case for trial and know how to gather expert testimony under the legally accepted standard. Call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online for a free consultation about your options.