James R. Davis
Posted - 04/19/2014 : 9:44 AM
I'm a stickler for detail, but some people are so over the top that I find myself shaking my head and wondering 'why?'.
In a straightforward case involving a motorcycle accident, defense's attorney brought a policeman to trial (the accident scene investigator) and had the officer show some pictures he had taken of the crashed motorcycle. One of the pictures showed him with a penny he had inserted into the tread of one of the motorcycle tires as a means of determining if there the rider had been riding on badly maintained tires. The policeman indicated that from his inspection (using that penny), the tire was NOT excessively worn. This, it seemed to me, was not arguable.
But argue, the plaintiffs attorney did. He brought an accident investigator to the stand (one of his expert witnesses) who had many things to say about the accident, but when the issue of excessive wear of the motorcycle's tires was concerned, he took an absolutely crazy 'jab' at the police officer's professional skills and knowledge.
He announced that the policeman apparently did not realize that using a penny as a tread gauge was perfectly fine for automobile tires, but motorcycle tires were different. Motorcycle tires have tread wear indicators molded into their treads and that along the sidewall of motorcycle tires there were symbols indicating the location of those tread wear bars. The symbols were 'invariably' small triangles.
But, in fact, they are sometimes the three letters 'TMI', and sometimes other obscure graphic symbols.
Here was an expert who didn't know how to relate to a jury. He came off as a pompous know-it-all who had no regard for the police who work accident scenes. (His 'invariably' comment made his testimony FAR LESS CREDIBLE than that of the policeman.)
In my opinion, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? Use a penny, use your eyeballs, use common sense, use the tread wear indicator. But if the on-scene accident investigating policeman opines that the tire did not have excessive wear - that should end the discussion!!!
Besides, the trial was about an accident that occurred as a result of excessive speed and intoxication. (Tire wear? Come on!)