Florida legislature modified Florida statute 90.702 and adopted the expert testimony standards commonly referred to as “Daubert.” This statute modification has slowly been making an impact on personal injury cases – especially when it comes to expert testimony. Because of these changes, any subjective beliefs or unsupported speculation in an expert’s testimony is inadmissible by the courts.
For example, if a person is injured in an accident and the physician testifies that in their expert opinion the plaintiff’s injuries resulted from that accident, the testimony is inadmissible, since the testimony is based on the unsupported opinion of the witness.
Instead, expert witnesses must provide sufficient supporting testimony and evidence in order to comply with statute 90.702.
The Three Key Elements of Statute 90.702
In order for testimony to be admissible, the expert witness must establish three elements:
- The testimony can only be based on sufficient data or facts – not opinion.
- The testimony must be the product of reliable methods and principles. If unaccepted principles or methods were used to come to that conclusion, the courts may strike it down as inadmissible.
- The witness must show that they applied acceptable methods and principles to come to the facts they are testifying about in the case.
Expert Experience and Training Is Not Enough
Using the Daubert principle, an expert’s experience and training is no longer enough to establish the validity of their testimony. Even if an expert has had 25 years in their respective industry, they can only testify to facts that have been established by the use of test results, data, or other forms of evidence.
What Does This Mean for Personal Injury Cases?
With regards to a personal injury claim filed after these changes, they can dramatically impact the outcome of a claim. The days of using a skilled physician to testify about causation or permanency between accidents and injuries are no longer acceptable by the courts. Treating physicians cannot provide their own “expert testimony” based on their experience or skilled training – regardless of how highly-awarded they are or how extensive their expertise may be. Instead, they must provide more than their “pure opinion,” which can include specific case studies, scientific knowledge, and raw data.
Most physicians are unlikely to be able to meet this strict requirement because most physicians are too busy to look up case studies or statistics regarding a patient’s claim. Instead, physicians are there to treat the patient – not preserve their personal injury case.
Hiring the Right Litigator Will Help
Because of this new statute, it is imperative injured victims contact a personal injury attorney who understands the burden of proof before providing expert testimony. If you have a personal injury claim, do not let these statute changes affect your confidence to file a claim. Speak with the team at Hancock Injury Attorneys first. We offer free consultations, so call us at 813-915-1110 or fill out an online contact form to get started on your personal injury claim.