Evidence relating to subsequent remedial measures in roadway construction can be a significant issue in Georgia serious injury by vehicle and vehicular homicide cases. In serious injury by vehicle and vehicular homicide cases, an explanation for the accident – other than a defendant’s recklessness or impairment by alcohol or drugs – is of tremendous importance.
Presenting evidence of that other non-impaired people have been involved in an accident at the same location and that the state has subsequently made changes to the roadway can be crucial evidence in the defense of a Georgia serious injury by vehicle and vehicular homicide case.
Dunagan v. State, 661 S.E.2d 525 (Ga. 2008)
As to the evidence of subsequent modifications to the intersection, it was admissible not only to attempt to show that there were known flaws in the intersection, and hence known dangers, at the time of the collision but also that the Department of Transportation was the responsible party.This is so because “[g]enerally, evidence implicating another named [party] as the actual perpetrator of the crime is relevant and admissible as tending to exonerate the defendant.” Azizi v. State, 270 Ga. 709, 714(6), 512 S.E.2d 622 (1999).
This is in contrast to the general rule in negligence actions that evidence of subsequent remedial measures is inadmissible. Brooks v. Cellin Mfg. Co., 251 Ga. 395, 397, 306 S.E.2d 657 (1983). The exclusion of this kind of evidence in civil actions is grounded in the public policy that parties should be encouraged to make needed repairs without fear of admission of liability. Dept. of Transp. v. Cannady, 270 Ga. 427, 428(1), 511 S.E.2d 173 (1999). Thus, the propriety of the admission of the evidence of post-collision remedial measures in the present criminal case does not affect the principles and policies governing the admission of such evidence in civil cases.