Justly or unjustly, Florida has long had a reputation for lenient laws. A visitor to Florida can easily get the exception that charlatans have free rein in the Sunshine State. Advertisements for mysterious miracle cures beckon from every billboard and television screen.
However, the dubious scientific claims on which Florida’s health and wellness industry base the advertising slogans of its products are likely no longer admissible as evidence in court. In the past five years, Florida’s Supreme Court has heard several cases that required it to interpret its rules about determining the reliability of medical and scientific evidence used to support a party’s case in a legal dispute.
These cases led to the Florida Supreme Court, in May 2019, adopting the Daubert Standard, a rule of evidence already followed in most other states. If you file a car accident injury lawsuit, your lawyer will ensure that the testimony of medical expert witnesses adheres to the Daubert standard.
Differences Between the Frye Standard and the Daubert Standard
Until 2019, Florida’s rule for determining which evidence scientific witnesses could present in court was the Frye standard, which has its roots in a 1923 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. It says that the conclusions of scientific studies cited as evidence in expert witness testimony must be generally accepted in the scientific community.
The Daubert standard, by contrast, focuses on methodology, not conclusions. In other words, it leaves it to the judge to draw his or her own conclusions based on the details of the study. This is supposed to mean that the study’s methodology must be transparent. According to the Daubert standard, the five criteria for scientific studies that can be used in court are a testable hypothesis, peer review, known error rate, controlled variables, and widely accepted methodology and conclusions.
Why the Daubert Standard Matters
Making legal decisions based on bad science is unfair to everyone. Imagine if a court convicted someone of murder because the prosecution said that the defendant bewitched the victim. The original Daubert case involved a plaintiff who sued a pharmaceutical company, alleging that a B-vitamin complex contained in a morning sickness drug caused her child’s congenital disabilities; the court ruled that the studies the plaintiff’s experts cited did not have sound enough methodology to prove this.
Contact Stevenson Klotz About Car Accident Cases
The Daubert standard may not be able to keep junk science away from the dinner table at family gatherings, but it can keep it out of the courtroom. Contact a Pensacola car accident Attorney at Stevenson Klotz in to discuss your case and to see whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.