In many car accident cases, it is undisputed that the plaintiff suffered harm in the subject collision. In others, though, the defendant may argue that a crash did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. In such instances, the defendant may attempt to offer the testimony of a biomechanical expert on the issue of the force conducted in the accident and whether it was sufficient to bring about the plaintiff’s harm. Recently, a Florida court discussed the limitations imposed on biomechanical experts in car accident cases, in a matter in which the plaintiff objected that the expert was not qualified to opine on the issue of causation. If you were injured in a crash, it is important to understand what evidence may be presented to refute your claims, and it is prudent to meet with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney to assess your options.
The History of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff was injured in a collision involving the defendant. She subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging that the defendant’s negligent driving caused her harm. The defendant argued that the crash did not cause the plaintiff’s harm and disclosed that she intended to rely on the testimony of a biomechanical expert to support her opinion. The plaintiff moved to preclude the expert from testifying on the grounds that he was not qualified to testify regarding whether the accident caused the plaintiff’s harm. The court ultimately agreed and granted the plaintiff’s motion.
Testimony Permissible by Biomechanical Experts
In federal courts, Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence governs expert testimony. Specifically, it states that a person who is qualified by experience, training, skill, or education may testify if his or her knowledge will help the fact finder understand the evidence or determine a disputed fact, and the proffered testimony is based on adequate data or facts and is the product of reliable methods and principles.
The party seeking to introduce expert testimony bears the burden of laying the proper foundation and must demonstrate that the expert’s opinion is admissible by the preponderance of the evidence. In the subject case, the defendant disclosed a biomechanical expert, who calculated the forces that acted upon the plaintiff in the subject incident and opined as to whether the force was sufficient to cause the plaintiff’s harm. The plaintiff argued that the expert was not a medical doctor, and therefore, could not testify regarding causation.
The court ultimately agreed, ruling that biomechanical engineers typically are not allowed to offer opinions regarding the precise cause of a specific injury because they lack the medical training necessary to identify people’s preexisting medical conditions and tolerance levels. As such, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion and barred the defendant’s biomechanical expert from testifying on the issue of causation.
Speak to a Dedicated Car Accident Lawyer in Florida
People involved in car crashes often suffer significant harm, and in many instances, they are able to recover compensation from the parties that caused their losses. If you were hurt in a collision, you should speak to an attorney regarding your options. Jarrett Blakeley is an experienced Florida car accident attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you to pursue the best outcome possible in your case. You can reach Mr. Blakeley at (800) 602-5000 or through the form online to set up a meeting.