No matter what type of dispute you are in, experts are important and routinely used to help a party prove a component of their case, whether it be liability or damages. This is true for insurance coverage disputes. However, there needs to be careful consideration of the expert you want to utilize to not only make sure their opinions will withstand any Daubert challenge, but to ensure they are qualified to even render the opinion.
In State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. v. Long, 41 Fla. L. Weekly D995a (Fla. 5th DCA 2016), an uninsured motorist coverage case, the insured utilized a physician’s assistant to testify regarding the insured’s future medical care and costs (a component of damages). The problem, however, was that a physician assistant is not a medical doctor or surgeon and was not competent to render opinions on these issues. “To qualify as an expert, the [expert] witness must have the requisite knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education on the subject about which the witness is called to testify.” Long, supra, citing Fla. Stat. s. 90.702. Here, while the physician’s assistant was qualified to testify regarding the treatment and care provided to the insured, he was not qualified to opine about future medical care / surgery and, thus, the costs, because he was not a medical doctor responsible for making such decisions.
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