When the cause of an Atlanta motorcycle accident is disputed, one or both parties may seek to introduce the testimony of an accident reconstructionist. Such testimony is not automatically heard by the trier of fact at trial, however, since the burden of proving the admissibility of the witness' testimony is on the party seeking to introduce it. Unless the proposed expert is properly qualified to testify as to the issues at hand, the trial court judge will not allow the testimony.
Facts of the Case
In a recent case under consideration by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, the plaintiff was a man who was injured in a motor vehicle collision in August 2014. At the time of the crash, the plaintiff was riding a motorcycle. He filed suit against the defendants, the driver of the truck that allegedly struck the plaintiff's motorcycle and the driver's employer. Two insurance companies were also named as defendants.
The parties disagreed as to who had the right-of-way at the time of the collision and as to whether the plaintiff had lost control of his motorcycle before it was struck by the truck. The employer expressed its intent to call a certain expert witness (a professional engineer and accident reconstructionist) to testify with regard to the mechanics of the crash, particularly the plaintiff's alleged improper activation and locking of his rear brake alone (which the witness believed caused the plaintiff to lose control prior to impact).
According to the plaintiff, the witness' testimony was not supported by appropriate calculations, precise measurements, or collected data. He further asserted that the witness' proposed testimony was contradicted by relevant scientific literature.
Determination of the Federal District Court
The federal district court denied the plaintiff's motion. Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, expert testimony is admissible if the expert is qualified to testify regarding the subject matter of his or her testimony, if the expert's methodology is sufficiently reliable, and if the testimony will be of assistance to the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or in determining a fact at issue.
The court found that the expert was qualified to testify regarding the effects of using the front and rear brakes on a motorcycle, his methodology was sufficiently reliable, and his testimony would assist the jury at trial. Accordingly, the court denied the plaintiff's motion to exclude the witness' testimony.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Injury Attorney
The Law Offices of T. Andrew Miller, LLC, offers a free consultation regarding your Atlanta motorcycle accident case. Call us at 678-894-4758 to schedule a time to come in and discuss how we can be of assistance in your efforts to seek fair compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other damages caused by the negligent or reckless driving of a motorist or truck driver. We handle cases throughout the Atlanta area, including in Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Westside, and Eastside.