Articles Tagged with injury attorney Orlando

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Three years ago, Florida lawmakers altered the standards for admissibility of expert witness testimony in the courtroom. We went from being a “Frye” state (based on the 1923 precedent in Frye v. U.S.) to a “Daubert” state (based on the 1993 case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.). 

The latter is a more stringent standard of weighing scientific methodology. This change has had a profound impact on civil litigation in Florida, requiring that expert witness testimony (needed in so many cases, from medical malpractice claims to car accident injury lawsuits) be thoroughly vetted. The Frye test required that the methodology or theory from which a scientific deduction was made had to have gained acceptance in that particular field. Daubert, meanwhile, the judge is responsible for being the gatekeeper of the expert witness’s qualifications and also ensuring that the testimony is both relevant and reliable. With regard to methodology, this generally means the court has to consider whether the theory or technique has been or can be tested, whether it has been subject to peer review, what the known or potential rate of error is and whether the theory is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community.

In a recent product liability case considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, justices reversed a $3 million award in favor of the plaintiff after finding the trial court judge failed to perform the proper gatekeeping duties with regard to plaintiff’s expert witness. Further, without that testimony, plaintiff did not have enough evidence to prove his claim, and therefore justices issued an order remanding the case for entry of a judgment in defendant car manufacturer’s favor. Continue reading →

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Back in the 1970s, lawmakers in Florida sought to reduce the burden that constant car accident lawsuits imposed on the courts. That’s when they devised a system of no-fault benefits that every driver was required to purchase, called personal injury protection benefits, or PIP insurance. It’s intended to serve as a basic level of medical coverage for individuals who are injured in car crashes – no matter who is at-fault. 

The law requires drivers to buy a minimum of $10,000 in PIP protection, and only if their damages exceed that amount or if the injuries are debilitating, permanent or scarring can those injured seek compensation outside of that system, per F.S. 627.736. Drivers here also aren’t required to buy bodily injury liability insurance (though it’s usually a good idea).

But now, legislators say they are going to be rethinking Florida’s PIP no-fault auto insurance this spring. A study commissioned by state leaders shows that if the PIP system were tossed, drivers would save an average of $80 on their policies. That doesn’t sound like a ton, but of course Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country and we’ve also got one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers – 1 in 4. Meanwhile, the cost of PIP benefits has soared in recent years, climbing 14.4 percent between 2013 and 2014 and then again by 25.7 percent between 2015 and 2016.  Continue reading →

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