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Georgia Evidence in GA, Car Accident Trial

Atlanta Trial Attorney

In most auto accident cases a plaintiff tries to prove that a defendant has been negligent by using the same techniques that are used in any other trial (or in drawing any conclusion outside of a trial, for that matter). Direct evidence from eyewitnesses is the most compelling. The testimony of a bystander who saw a driver taking swigs from a whiskey bottle, talking on a cellular phone, and speeding through a stop sign just before the driver’s car ran over a pedestrian provides overwhelming evidence of the driver’s negligence. But circumstantial evidence–indirect evidence from which the jury infers negligence–can be just as persuasive. If no one witnesses the accident but the police find a half-empty whiskey bottle and a cellular phone with the connection still intact in the front seat of the car, the driver’s blood alcohol reading is twice the legal limit for intoxication, and an accident expert testifies that tire marks indicate the driver did not brake before reaching the intersection, any jury would conclude that the driver was negligent.

Negligence is the failure to observe reasonable care, and since people ordinarily act reasonably, the plaintiff or defendant may introduce evidence of a custom that is relevant to the issue of negligence.

In any auto accident case, the first thing that must be done is to determine the negligent party. A party is said to be negligent when he or she does something which ought not to have been done or when he or she does not do something which he or she ought to have done in the circumstances. An attorney will review the actions of the parties to determine negligence. If the conduct of the parties is different from how a prudent individual would have reacted under the similar circumstances, then the party will be negligent. To prove negligence in a court of law requires evidence. Evidence of negligence can be in the form of photographs of the accident scene, the police report, witness statements, etc. In complex cases, the accident will have to be recreated to determine the negligence. For this the services of accident reconstruction experts must be hired.

Some negligence cases require distinctive rules of proof. One set of rules concerns the use of expert testimony. Ordinarily, it is the jury’s task to decide the ultimate issue of whether the defendant acted negligently. Witnesses provide evidence relevant to that conclusion, but the witnesses are not allowed to suggest the conclusion to the jury. A police officer can testify that she found the whiskey bottle and telephone in the car, but she cannot then say that the defendant must have been driving carelessly. Some issues are more complicated, however, and require expert testimony, including expert opinions about the defendant’s negligence, to aid the jury in reaching its decision.

Auto accident cases are complex. Gathering evidence for trial in an auto accident case is very important. Auto accident victims seeking compensation should hire an experienced accidents lawyer. The lawyer will gather the necessary evidence and ensure that the accident victim gets the compensation he or she rightfully deserves.