When deaths occur on Georgia’s roadways the Georgia State Patrol often sends a special task force to the scene within minutes of the accident occurring. This task force, known as the “Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team” or “SCRT,” often spends hours investigating the accident to determine how the collision occurred, who was at fault, and whether there was any potential criminal liability for the wreck. It is basically a detailed crime scene investigation conducted on the roadway by the Georgia State Patrol or a local agency with a similar type of task force.
Following the investigation, the SCRT team releases a detailed report of their findings commonly known as the “SCRT report.” This is a lengthy examination into how the accident occurred, and contains numerous photographs, diagrams and analysis of the scene. The task force conducts specific forensic analysis of the crash site, including speed calculations, collision dynamics analysis, detailed vehicle inspections and witness interviews, all at the scene of the accident while the vehicles are still on the roadway.
Obviously these reports are a critical piece of evidence in any litigation involving collision. While the reports are prepared by the state for criminal prosecutions, the reports are often available through Georgia Open Records Law to civil litigants and are often obtained by their attorneys well prior to trial. These requests are sent to the Georgia Dept. of Public Safety and are usually available within a few months after the accident. The reports are often the most important piece of evidence in any civil litigation involving a wrongful death action brought by the decedents survivors seeking monetary damages from the at-fault party on behalf of the surviving spouse, or other relative of the victim, or the victim’s estate (see wrongful death damages for a detailed explanation about who is the proper party to bring a wrongful death action and other damages related to fatal accidents).
In a civil wrongful death action, the SCRT report is often the most important piece of evidence for all parties in the litigation. Because the SCRT task force is on the scene soon after the accident occurs, the task force’s report is often the only detailed evidence preserved from the scene of the collision. While private accident reconstruction teams are often hired by both parties in a civil case involving one or more fatality, these hired teams almost never have the luxury of being on the scene immediately after the accident occurred. All of the evidence taken directly from the scene is usually contained only in the SCRT report.
If you have a loved one who was killed in an accident due to the fault of another, you or another relative of the victim may be entitled to wrongful death damages. There are also potential damages available to the victim’s estate. Contact the attorneys at Jarrett & Price for a free consultation at (912) 401-8880 – (912) 401-8880. We represent the families of victims by bringing wrongful death actions in northeast Georgia at our offices in Clarkesville, Georgia and Cleveland, Georgia. We also represent clients throughout southeast Georgia with our Savannah office location.