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Expert Testimony Under Daubert Standard in Florida Product Liability Cases

Florida medical malpractice and product liability laws allow injury victims to hold negligent parties liable for their injuries. Many cases involve the interplay of both of these areas of the area, which enhances the complexity of these lawsuits. Florida’s strict medical malpractice and product liability laws impose significant burdens on injury victims. For example, claimants must prove that a medical professional breached a standard of care and the breach was the “proximate” or “actual” cause of the victim’s damages. However, in some cases involving defective products, there is no requirement to show the manufacturer breached a duty. Plaintiffs must meet all procedural and evidentiary requirements to avoid the dismissal of an otherwise legitimate claim.

In most cases, Florida medical malpractice and defective product claims hinge on an expert witness’s testimony. After several years of constant flux regarding the appropriate expert witness standard, in 2019, the Florida Supreme Court stated that the state follows the Daubert standard for the admission of expert testimony. Under Daubert, the trial judge maintains the discretionary gatekeeping function to determine whether an expert’s testimony is reliable and relevant. Specifically, the rule explains that an expert is qualified by knowledge, skill, or technical training and education to form an opinion. A court may qualify an expert if:

  • Their credentials will help the fact finder understand relevant evidence;
  • Their testimony is based on appropriate facts or data;
  • Their testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
  • The expert has reliably applied these methods to the relevant facts.

Cases involving the challenge of an expert tend to revolve around the qualifications of an expert. For instance, a recent federal case decision addressed a defendant’s motion to exclude an expert based on his qualifications. The case stemmed from injuries a woman suffered from electrified scissors during a laparoscopic hysterectomy. The woman retained an obstetrician-gynecologist as an expert to testify to the appropriate standard of care and cause of her damages. The defendant manufacturer of the scissors argued that the expert should be excluded because he was not qualified to render testimony on the woman’s injuries because he did not use the company’s scissors. The appeals court found that the lower court used the incorrect legal standard by muddling the doctor’s reliability and qualifications as an expert. Ultimately, the court reversed the lower court’s ruling, excluding the expert and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Have You Suffered Injuries Because of a Defective Product?

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries because of a medical provider’s negligence or a defective medical device, contact the Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada. The attorneys at our law firm are well-versed in the evolving and complex nature of Florida medical malpractice and defective medical product claims. We maintain an active practice representing injury victims in their claims stemming from Florida motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, and premises liability. We can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.

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