Cobb County has seen its share of roadway tragedies in recent weeks. Earlier this week another very sad accident from Georgia interstate travel has emerged, this time involving the deaths of two young people. One, a 19-year-old driver and the other an eight-year old passenger. Authorities are still trying to piece together what happened and are urging any witnesses to come forward. If anyone reading this post saw this accident, prior to the minivan leaving its lane of traffic, they are asked to contact Cobb County police. In my practice as a Cobb County car accident lawyer, I have found that witnesses can be very helpful in putting together the events and causes of a motor vehicle accident.
What is known thus far is that a minivan driven by the 19-year-old with the younger child in the vehicle, was driving on I-575 in Cobb County northbound. For reasons that are currently under investigation, the minivan crossed the median — which is a grassy separation between the directions of traffic — and entered the southbound lane of traffic. This tragic accident occurred in daylight hours in the afternoon and in dry conditions. Determining why the minivan left its lane of traffic will be a puzzle the authorities must now put together. This is important for many reasons, not the least of which is so that family and friends can understand what happened to their loved ones.
Reports from the police in an email to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution state that: ” ‘As the Chrysler entered into the southbound lanes, it was struck in the driver’s side by the commercial truck.’ ” Both the driver and the child in the minivan passed away at the scene of the accident.
The driver of the truck sustained some injuries that are not life-threatening. He was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital and treated there.
It appears that the truck driver was not at fault in this accident. It also doesn’t appear that the vehicle driven by the teen had some inherent defect, although we do not yet know that. We do not know whether speed or distracted driving or some other error by the teen driver was involved.
Generally, in cases in which deaths occur on the road and someone or some entity like a car manufacturer has culpability for the accident, it is possible for the families to consider a wrongful death suit. In this case, the truck driver might be able to help with the events leading up to the crash and the minivan entering his lane of traffic.
Authorities are also asking for eyewitnesses to come forward about what they saw. When accidents occur, eyewitnesses can be very important in piecing together what happened. Later, authorities and often lawyers must put together the accounts to try to determine what actually happened. It is most helpful if there are several eyewitnesses who can tell authorities what they saw — eventually leading to a better picture of the facts.
Eyewitness testimony can be helpful, but it also needs to be treated like other evidence and weighed by a jury for its reliability. In some states, during a criminal trial for example, the reliability of eyewitness testimony must be part of the instructions to the jury before they deliberate. In Georgia, this instruction is not mandatory which means that a judge can decide whether to allow expert testimony about the reliability of eyewitnesses.
In a recent United States Supreme Court decision, the justices determined that it is up to the jury to weigh the evidence, even that of an eyewitness in a criminal trial. In that case, Perry v. New Hampshire, the Court declined to place new limits on the use of questionable eyewitness testimony in criminal cases.
If you see something happening on the road, or are a witness to an accident or a crime, it is important that you come forward to say what you saw. This can be important information to help put the facts together in any given accident or case.
If you have any questions about an accident or injury that you have sustained that might have been caused by the carelessness of another driver or person, please contact me at my law offices for a free consultation about your accident or injury. There is no obligation for this and no charge to you.