Tennessee had some unusually bad weather and icy roadways early in the week. On Tuesday evening, Feb. 17, a 34-year-old woman and her 10-year-old son were hit and killed by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 65. The woman had stopped her vehicle and was walking with her son to help the occupants of an SUV that had rolled over in front of them. They were hit and killed by a passing tractor-trailer. An investigation by the authorities will look into whether the truck driver had been guilty of negligent driving.
The accident occurred not far from the decedents' home in Franklin. The two were on their way to the grocery store just before the accident, according to Franklin Police. There are several considerations that police will use in evaluating whether the driver is legally liable for monetary damages to the family of the two deceased victims.
One obvious and critical factor is speed. If the driver was operating too fast for conditions, and if that careless driving was a substantial factor in causing the deaths, then the estates of the two decedents would have a wrongful death claim against the trucker. If there is inclement weather and/or icy roadways, it is imperative that drivers not drive as fast as they normally would. There is a duty to keep a lookout on the roadway ahead.
Furthermore, the driver must be going slow enough to bring his or her truck to a halt prior to hitting someone on the roadway. Thus, if a vehicle or a person is on the road ahead, a driver has a duty under Tennessee law to be able to stop in time to avoid a collision. A driver's attention must always be on the road ahead, and he or she must be able to stop within an assured clear distance of the vehicle or person seen in the distance. The police have several additional areas of inquiry before they can determine whether there was negligent driving by the tractor-trailer driver.
Source: www.tennessean.com, "Mom, son killed trying to help called 'heroes'", Jill Cowan, Feb. 18, 2015