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Florida Court Explains Admissibility of Expert Testimony in Car Accident Cases

In many lawsuits arising out of collisions, it is abundantly clear that the plaintiff’s harm developed due to the crash. In some matters, though, the defendant will argue that the plaintiff’s alleged harm is not related to the accident. To support their argument, the defendant may hire an expert in biomechanics to offer testimony about the force produced by the crash and whether it could have brought about the plaintiff’s harm.  Recently, a Florida court discussed the use of experts in biomechanics in car crash cases in a matter in which the plaintiff argued that the expert lacked the qualifications to testify on the topic of causation. If you were hurt in a collision, it is important to meet with a trusted Florida car accident lawyer to assess what evidence may be used against you at trial.

History of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car crash with the defendant. She later filed a lawsuit asserting that the defendant’s reckless operation of her vehicle caused the crash and her subsequent harm. In response, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s purported injuries did not arise out of the accident and stated she intended to introduce testimony from an expert in biomechanics to support her position. The plaintiff then moved to have the defendant’s expert precluded, arguing that he lacked the qualifications to offer an opinion on the topic of causation. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion.

Admissibility of Expert Testimony on Causation in Car Accident Cases

In cases filed in federal court, Federal Rule of Evidence 702 dictates what expert testimony is admissible. Specifically, it provides that an individual who is qualified by training, experience, education, or skill can testify if their opinion will help the judge or jury determine a factual dispute or understand the evidence. Additionally, Rule 702 states that expert testimony must be based on facts or data and must be the result of reliable principles and methods.

A party that wishes to introduce expert testimony bears the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the expert possesses the required qualifications. In the subject case, the defendant’s expert allegedly calculated the amount of force produced by the collision and evaluated whether it was adequate to cause the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff argued that because the expert did not have a medical degree, he was not qualified to testify on the topic of causation.

The court agreed with the plaintiff, ruling that an expert in biomechanics lack the medical education and training needed to identify pre-existing conditions and pain levels and, therefore, could not testify as to the cause of a plaintiff’s harm. Thus, the court precluded the defendant’s expert in biomechanics from testifying on the topic of causation.

Talk to a Skilled Florida Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents can cause significant harm, but fortunately,  many people injured in collisions can recover damages from the parties responsible for their losses. If you sustained damages in a crash, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Florida personal injury attorneys of Cardoso Law, PLLC, can assess your harm and help you to determine what claims you may be able to pursue. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at  (850) 466-2073 to set up a meeting.

 

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