New Laws Take Effect July 1, Says Fort Myers Accident Attorney

Changes to expert witness testimony among new laws going into effect July 1

As the new Florida budget goes into effect on July 1, it brings with it several of the 200 new laws that were passed by the 2013 legislature and signed into law by the governor. While the new laws cross a broad spectrum, there are a few that will affect trials and trial testimony. The most significant is a change in the standard that trial judges will use when assessing the testimony of “expert witnesses.” The new law imposes the “Daubert” Standard, which is currently used in federal courts.gavel depicting changes in law

According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School, the Daubert Standard is, “The standard used by a trial judge to make a preliminary assessment of whether an expert’s scientific testimony is based on reasoning or methodology that is scientifically valid and can properly be applied to the facts at issue. Under this standard, the factors that may be considered in determining whether the methodology is valid are:

  1. whether the theory or technique in question can be and has been tested;
  2. whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication;
  3. its known or potential error rate;
  4. the existence and maintenance of standards controlling its operation; and,
  5. whether it has attracted widespread acceptance within a relevant scientific community.

The Daubert standard is the test currently used in the federal courts and some state courts.  In the federal courts, it replaced the Frye standard.

Also among the new laws is one dealing requiring that that expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases have the same specialties as the physicians who are defendants in medical-negligence cases.

Also in effect as of July 1 is a provision that allows police to ticket drivers who are driving more than 10 miles per hour below the speed limit in the left-hand (fast) lane, if they know that they are slowing down traffic.

Other new laws, including the ban on texting while driving that we previously discussed, will not go into effect until the fall of this year.