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An Overview Of The Daubert Standard Test For Expert Testimony

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If you are pursuing a personal injury case, you may need an expert witness to help you prove your case. The expert witness is a knowledgeable and experienced person, with regard to the subject matter at hand, who can give an impartial opinion on a subject. The court won't just accept any claim as expert testimony; there must be some standard to follow. The Daubert standard is an example of what the court can use to vet an expert testimony. Below are the elements of the Daubert standard.

Theory or Technique Test

An expert witness testimony should be something that can be or has been tested by scientific methods. Testimonies regarding supernatural acts, personal beliefs, or faith-based events are not allowed. For example, an expert witness can testify that a car traveling at 90 miles per hour cannot stop within 10 feet. Whether or not this is true, it can be accepted as expert testimony because this is something that can be tested via scientific methods. However, an expert witness cannot testify that praying and believing in God can stop a car because belief in God cannot be scientifically tested.

Peer Review or Publication

Just because someone claims to have proven a scientific theory doesn't make their claim true. In the scientific community, theories are tested and published so that other scientists can review the tests and their results, and if possible, replicate the tests. Theories that have not been subjected to such rigorous review won't be accepted in court during expert testimony.

Error Rate

Not everything that passes through a scientific test turns out as projected. Therefore, if a scientific claim is at the center of your case, the court will want to know how often the claims turn out to be true or false. Say your expert witness is claiming that those who break their spines cannot walk again. The court will want to know whether this is an absolute statement, and if not, how many of those who have sustained such injuries in the past have walked again.

Standards of Operations

For a theory or claim that can be tested, there should be a standard operating method that other experts use or can use. The testimony should not be something that only your expert, even if they are a bona fide scientist, can handle. For example, if the expert is claiming that a certain material is weak and cannot handle a given force, there should be a standard method of handling the test so that anyone can execute the test and determine whether the material is that weak or not.


Lastly, an expert witness should testify on things that are widely accepted in the scientific community, specifically in the scientific field in which the witness is an expert. Consider a case where an expert, who is a medical doctor, is testifying as to how long it should take a certain injury to heal. The expert's testimony should be something that other doctors in the same field also agree with.

Reach out to a lawyer like Kilgore Smith LLC to learn more.