Obscure Change in Evidence Code That Can Cause Any Personal Injury Case to Be Dismissed
Filing a personal injury case in Florida will never be easy with its significant law change. Maria Franco Perez’s case is one example of a case dismissed due to the state’s stringent evidence requirement.
Maria; an employee of Bell South Telecommunications is a 26 years old woman from Miami who filed a personal injury case against her employer after giving birth at 20 weeks of gestation. After she was diagnosed to be high risk for pregnancy, her obstetrician; Dr. Isidro Cardella recommended that she be allowed to go for frequent bathroom breaks to accommodate her constellation of medical conditions.
“I was fired for nonperformance. After 2 days since the day I was terminated, I experienced placental abruption which caused me to deliver Osmay Anthony Perez in just 20 weeks pregnancy”, Maria and her doctor believed that her premature delivery was stress related at her area of work. And such presumption was based on her doctor’s 20 years of medical experience on top of her medical education.
Personal injury cases require expert witnesses to be credible. These witnesses will testify as to why and how events happened. They will also quote loss of wages and medical care cost. The defense likewise will hire its own experts to contest with the plaintiff’s views. And the decision will rest on the jury.
However, Florida’s legislature last year retooled Section 90.702. This is Florida’s Evidence Code. In the old code, it allows plaintiff to use expert witness to present their opinion for juries to hear. Using Frye Standard, Maria should be allowed to make it through the trial and present her case to the jury.
However, such evidence code was now modified in Florida. This time, they use Daubert’s Standard, requiring “scientific knowledge” from expert for the case to be admissible. Hence, everything that will be said by experts in the court must be based on empirical testing and must be systematically verified.
With the “opinion based testimony” eliminated, it makes it hard for Maria to file a personal injury case as well as the rest of the plaintiffs who plan to file for a personal injury case. On Maria’s case for instance, a scientific study must prove that stress on pregnant women at work will lead to premature delivery of their babies.
Though Dr. Cardella can affirm that premature delivery can be stress related, her statement will remain to be a personal opinion and not a scientific analysis. For this reason, Dr. Cardella’s statement was not accepted and Maria’s case was dismissed.
A personal injury case can be complicated, requiring a good personal injury solicitor. You need to know what to expect in the duration of the trial and having someone who can present your case well will give you an added advantage.