Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Admitting Expert Witnesses under Daubert or Frye

     By HG.org

It is often essential to have an expert witness in conjunction with a lawyer for many different types of cases. These professionals are fundamental to assisting in successful claims and in defending accused persons of crimes. The possible insight these experts have in their field is invaluable in helping legal representatives in proving or disproving certain aspects of the subject.
However, it is important that their testimony is relevant and reliable. This means the expert opinion or conclusion is either weighed by the Daubert standard used throughout the country or the outdated Frye standard that is still used exclusively in certain states.

Many expert testimonies are scientifically backed, but there are numerous professionals that use other methods to determine the conclusion of the data. In order to ensure the statements given by these experts are admissible in court, they must be measured by either previous standards or the newer guidelines. This means if there is a challenge against the expert witness’ testimony, it either goes up against the Daubert or Frye standards. These have different backgrounds with slightly dissimilar requirements. However, whichever is used, the information provided by an expert professional must be both relevant to the case and reliable with the possibility of being tested and reproduced.

Daubert Guidelines

The standard for expert witness testimony changed when the three trials including the Daubert case completed. This permitted a professional to be used as an expert witness as long as his or her testimony was considered relevant and reliable through tested and reproducible methods. He or she must provide credentials that prove his or her experience and knowledge in a field of study. This usually means extensive years of practical application and scientific procedures used to determine conclusions for the issue in the courtroom. However, through the Daubert cases, this is not always necessary. There are many professionals that do not have a scientific area of study.

Through the new standards, more subjects are open, more professionals may be contacted and the strength of the testimony is greater due to the reliance on a conclusion that may be tested for methods and processes. As long as the judge permits the report as admissible in the case, the findings may give greater weight to the plaintiff’s claims. The changes affect the lawyer and client as well in being able to select someone that fits the case, the subject matter and the evidence better than if more restrictions were still in place. This takes pressure and stress away from this aspect of the trial.

Frye Guidelines

Before the Daubert case, the Frye standard was used in courts. This meant that to admit expert testimony, the professional must use well-recognized scientific principles, methods or procedures that have generally been accepted by the community in which the field exists within. This general acceptance means that if others that have gained recognition in the same area of study do not agree that the processes used by the expert would yield the same results, the individual may not be permitted to submit his or her findings and testimony in a court case. Invalidating the report would delegate the professional to a consultant or disqualify him or her from being able to take part in the proceedings.

The Frye standards did not permit any new methods. This would ensure that only tested and relied upon conclusions were allowed in the court room. A review would be completed on the processes used to determine if the technique could be generally accepted by the scientific community so that the professional would be permitted as an expert witness. If the review met with a negative response, then the person may not be considered an expert witness, even if the methods used could be reproduced and verified by another individual. These standards are still used in some states currently, but the Daubert guidelines are used throughout the country as the default.

The Expert Witness Admissible Testimony

The use of an expert witness in a case is to provide valuable insight into an issue, assist in pushing progress forward and revealing various aspects when considering the evidence. This means that the professional used must be credible, have a field that is relevant to the trial and have a reliable method for determining his or her conclusion in the report created for the case. This could lead to a challenge for Daubert or Frye standards, but this should be in the mind of the expert throughout his or her involvement.

Copyright HG.org


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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