Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a lawsuit stemming from a Georiga motorcycle accident. Tragically, the motorcyclist died from injuries he suffered after colliding with a car. The motorcyclist’s representatives filed a negligence and wrongful death lawsuit against two of the car’s occupants, however, a trial jury found in favor of the defendants. The plaintiffs filed a motion for a new trial and a subsequent appeal based on the fact that the trial court inappropriately allowed a non-expert witness to testify to the motorcyclist’s speed. Further, they argued that the trial court should have declared a mistrial after testimony that the motorcyclist would have been cited for driving under the influence of methamphetamines, if he survived the accident.
At trial, the defendants presented several witnesses that testified that based on the sound of the biker’s engine, they believed that he was traveling around 80 to 100 miles per hour. The plaintiffs argued that the testimony was inadmissible because the witnesses did not see the biker. Under, OCGA section 24-7-701, non-expert witness testimony must be:
- Rationally based on the witness’s perception,