A jury usually decides personal injury cases in Florida. An exception is that both parties want a judge to decide the case. And the jury is usually a novice on the law and represents the community of the people who live there. And what a judge usually does in such a case is to provide instructions on what the ultimate question in the case is. And s/he also helps the jury to know what they should consider to make their final verdict.
Also, if a scientific or medical case arises, which is confusing to the jury, a trained and well-educated professional (expert witness) in the field of medicine or any other scientific discipline that is relevant to the case is used for the sole purpose of explaining certain principles or what the concept of the case is to the jury.
And there are usually two professionals representing each side of the case. The main reason for this is because the well-trained experts in the scientific or medical discipline represent their side’s interest in the case. The jury determines how convincing the testimony of the expert is in the case, once it has been admitted, which is based on complex laid down rules and regulations in Florida.
The difference between assigning the evidence weight and admitting evidence is brought up by a recent case.
This is what the facts of the case are…
A woman’s car was hit by a Department of Transportation vehicle. She said the vehicle was pulled off to the side of the road she was about to pass, while she (the plaintiff) was driving along the highway. And then there was a loud noise. The next thing she realized was that her car was upside down sliding along the highway. Her vehicle was hit badly. She ended up sustaining serious injuries, due to the accident that occurred.
And she filed a personal injury lawsuit against the Department of Transportation claiming the culprit’s vehicle was pulled out in front of her. On the other hand, the Department employee said she was the culprit. And clearly said that, she (the plaintiff) ran into his vehicle. An accident reconstruction specialist was called in by the plaintiff (as an expert witness). The defense said the expert’s testimony was an opinion after objecting, not fact. But the judge made a ruling and overruled it.
The expert said the Department employee was pulled out in front of her, which means the defense is the culprit. But when the evidence was concluded, the judge found in favor of the defense.
The plaintiff appealed and said the judge was improper to have dismissed the expert’s testimony, but the appellate court disagrees and said the judge allowed the expert’s testimony but discredited it in favor of the defense. The court agrees with the judge decision and said there is no reason for the judge to discredit all other evidence in favor of the plaintiff.