Court Discusses Admissibility of Expert Testimony in Personal Injury Cases in Florida

In personal injury matters, it is not uncommon for a defendant to try to preclude any evidence that it deems inadmissible in order to present a more favorable case to the jury. For example, a defendant may argue that certain medical records are irrelevant or that a plaintiff’s medical provider is not qualified to offer expert testimony. Recently, a Florida court issued an opinion explaining the grounds for precluding expert testimony in a case in which the plaintiff alleged she suffered injuries due to the defendant’s negligence. If you were hurt by the careless acts of a third party, you could be owed damages, and you should speak to a Florida personal injury attorney to evaluate your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered unspecified injuries while aboard a cruise ship owned by the defendant. She filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking damages for her injuries via negligence claims. Prior to trial, the defendant filed multiple motions in limine, seeking to bar the plaintiff from introducing certain evidence at trial, including the testimony of her treating physician. Specifically, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s doctor was not qualified to testify as an expert on the issue of causation. The court ultimately agreed and granted the defendant’s motion in limine on that issue.

Admissibility of Testimony from Treating Physicians

The defendant argued in its motion that the plaintiff failed to produce an expert report as required under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and therefore, her treating doctors could not testify on the issue of causation. The plaintiff countered that she did not need to provide an expert report, as she did not retain her physicians as experts, and the defendant did not object that a formal report was necessary to establish treatment and causation.

The court explained that the relevant procedural rule requires a party to disclose any expert it intends to introduce at trial and to provide a written report along with the disclosure that sets forth the expert’s opinions and the basis for such beliefs. The report must also establish the witness’ qualifications, the fee arrangement, and the exhibits relied upon in formulating the opinion. If a party fails to properly disclose an expert witness, the witness cannot testify at trial unless the failure was harmless or substantially justified.

The court explained, though, that the testimony of treating physicians will only be precluded if their opinions are based on information outside of the scope of their personal observations. The court noted that the defendant did not specify what opinion it sought to prohibit but ultimately ruled that the plaintiff’s doctors could not opine on the issue of causation but could provide testimony regarding the plaintiff’s care.

Speak to a Trusted Florida Attorney

Parties that injure others through their negligence should be held accountable. If you were hurt in an accident caused by the careless acts of a company or individual, it is in your best interest to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible. The experienced Florida personal injury attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can inform you of your potential claims and aid you in pursuing the full amount of damages recoverable. You can contact us via our online form or at 800-283-7442 to set up a meeting.

Contact Information