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Appalachian festival parade near Tennessee border turns deadly

As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, friends and family members might attend cemeteries at local Tennessee cemeteries, perhaps putting a flag on the grave of a brave veteran. Bigger cities, like Nashville, might plan music, concerts and other activities over the three-day weekend. Yet even smaller Tennessee neighborhoods might sponsor local parades to commemorate the brave men and women who have defended America.

With parade planning comes extra responsibility, however. City planners have a duty to ensure that premises are safe for both parade participants and spectators. That may mean cordoning off parade routes, erecting barriers to separate spectators from parade floats, and taking other measures to ensure smooth pedestrian traffic flow.

A recent parade tragedy near the Tennessee border, however, reminds readers that accidents might still happen at parades, in spite of the best planning. According to authorities, a driver in the Hikers Parade -- a celebration of the Appalachian Trial -- may have suffered a medical condition. For unknown reasons, the driver accelerated to almost 25 mph and drove into the crowd, injuring between 50 and 60 spectators.

When accidents happen on city property or at city-sponsored events, investigators may be charged with the task of determining whether planners were negligent, or could have taken measures to prevent reasonably foreseeable hazards or dangerous conditions. If negligence was a factor in the accident, personal injury victims might consider bringing premises liability lawsuits for damages against the responsible parties. Such claims might allege that negligent planning resulted in personal injuries, and that city officials should be charged with compensating accident victims for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other expenses.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, “Parade Car Crash: Driver Likely Had Medical Condition, Official Says,” May 19, 2013

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