Credible accident reconstruction testimony is often important
Automobile collision personal injury cases often require the assistance of an accident reconstructionist who is trained to analyze the physics of the wreck scene and determine the movements and speeds of vehicle and communicate those findings appropriately to jurors. The more complicated and controversial the crash, the more important the accident reconstruction expert testimony.
Over the years I’ve worked with and opposing a wide variety of accident reconstruction experts. There have been physics professors who were great with the scientific principles but weak on some of the nitty gritty aspects of dealing with road wrecks. Others are free lance engineers "for all seasons and all reasons" who may reconstruct a wreck today and analyze a product design tomorrow. I’ve also worked with immigrant engineers from a large engineering firm who were brilliant but could not effectively communicate with jurors.
Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have a case where the Georgia State Patrol SCRT (Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team) reconstructs an accident before I get involved. SCRT officers are state troopers who have gone though extensive specialized training and have investigated or reconstructed probably thousands of collisions. They can testify with authority and neutrality, and generally know from long experience as law enforcement officers how to communicate with jurors. However, the SCRT units are called in only when there is a potential vehicular homocide criminal prosecution. If there is just an injury that does not appear potentially fatal, it is unlikely that SCRT officers will be called in.
So we like to use retired SCRT officers for private accident reconstruction work whenever feasible. The best I have encountered is Jeff Kidd of Collisions Specialists, who before his retirement was commander of the Gainesville SCRT team and taught all five levels of accident reconstruction for the Georgia State Patrol. Accident reconstruction experts like him can professionally analyze a wide variety of issues involving Physics, Momentum, Time & Distance, Conspicuity, Human Factors and Energy in automobile, tractor trailer, motorcyle, pedestrian and bicycle accidents.
Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia whose practices focuses on representation of plaintiffs in high end personal injury and wrongful death cases. He is listed among the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale). A Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is President-elect of the 42,200 member State Bar of Georgia.