Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

Fatal car crash was caused by decedent, innocent driver injured

When death occurs in a vehicular accident in Tennessee, the investigating authorities will attempt to determine whether one or more drivers were at fault in causing the fatality. They will make the same evaluation regarding the liability of any drivers to any of those who were seriously injured in the car crash. This analysis is made for several reasons, including that the authorities want to determine whether there was any criminal negligence or recklessness involved.

The investigative reports are also used by those involved or their representatives to assist in determining if anyone has liability to persons injured or killed in the accident. In a recent accident that occurred on Bethel Valley Road in Oak Ridge, a 25-year-old man was killed in a car accident and a 52-year-old-man was injured. The Oak Ridge Police determined that a Chevrolet pickup truck operated by the decedent went out of control and crossed over the highway into the oncoming lane of traffic.

That pickup crashed into a Ford pickup truck operated by the other driver. They were both taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center , where the driver of the Chevrolet was declared dead. The condition of the injured driver is currently unknown. Based on the reported facts, the deceased driver was negligent in losing control, crossing lanes and crashing into the oncoming Ford pickup truck.  

An investigation by the police remains ongoing. For purposes of tort liability, however, it appears that the man who died in the car crash was negligent in operating his vehicle. His estate is likely liable for damages to the injured driver who survived the accident. The final findings of the police may assist the injured man in proving his case against the decedent's estate if the reasons for the decedent to lose control are more clearly determined. Tennessee recognizes basic rules of negligence that generally define the liability of each person with respect to an accident involving death or serious injury.

Source: oakridger.com, "Man killed in multi-vehicle crash", Donna Smith, Oct. 28. 2015

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