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The Daubert Standard And Florida Personal Injury Cases


The saying that you should believe half of what you see and none of what you hear predates the internet.  In an era where clickbait and hysteria are at your fingertips on multiple devices at every moment of the day and night, it is difficult even to know how to figure out what to believe.  Nowhere do people put more effort into figuring out the truth than in a court of law, and under no circumstances is there a stronger incentive to misrepresent the truth than when money and reputation are at stake, as they are in personal injury lawsuits and other kinds of legal cases.  Fewer subjects elicit such a strong emotional response as illness and health, so misinformation about health and medicine is especially abundant.  Therefore, when judges and juries make decisions based on evidence about medicine and related scientific fields, the court must follow a set of guidelines known as the Daubert standard to determine whether the scientific evidence is credible and whether it is relevant to the case.  Your Jacksonville personal injury lawyer can help you gather and present the strongest scientific evidence to persuade the court to award you the compensation that you need and deserve.

How Do Judges Decide Which Evidence Is Admissible in a Personal Injury Case?

Most states follow the Daubert standard for accepting or rejecting medical and scientific evidence in civil and criminal cases.  Florida adopted the Daubert standard in 2019, making it one of the most recent states to do so.  The Daubert standard is named after a 1993 U.S. Supreme Court case where the plaintiffs argued that prenatal vitamins had caused their child to be born with disabilities; the Supreme Court eventually ruled that the published research the plaintiffs had cited to support their claim was not closely related enough to the plaintiff’s situation to be compelling.

These are some key elements of the Daubert standard:

  • Published research cited by expert witnesses must clearly state its methodology and rate of error. The research must have appeared in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Expert witnesses in personal injury cases may only cite published clinical trials where the study was performed on human patients. Animal studies and in vitro experiments are not admissible.
  • The judge must read the published article before deciding whether the expert witness can cite it in testimony presented to a jury.

What this means is that building your case requires a lot of careful preparation on the part of your lawyer and any expert witnesses whose testimony your lawyer seeks.  Presenting a winning case, with or without going to trial, requires a skilled and meticulous personal injury lawyer.

Contact Douglas & Douglas About Personal Injury Cases Involving Expert Witness Testimony

A North Florida personal injury lawyer can help you win your case by doing the necessary research and, if appropriate, seeking the expertise of expert witnesses to support your arguments.  Contact Douglas & Douglas in Jacksonville, Florida for a free consultation.


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