Wrongful death damages are available in Tennessee in some circumstances where a passing vehicle hits and kills a pedestrian. As always in personal injury law, the deciding factor will be if the operator was negligent in striking the pedestrian and causing the injury or death. A recent car accident in which a passing vehicle killed a pedestrian raises the issue of whether the driver was guilty of distracted driving or other negligence, or whether he was faultless in the event.
The incident started when the victim crashed his own vehicle on Interstate 65 in Nashville near marker 86. He got out of his vehicle and walked north on the shoulder of I-65 South. At a point where police say the shoulder was only two-feet wide, a pickup truck struck the 34-year-old pedestrian. He was declared dead shortly thereafter at Vanderbilt Medical Center.
Police say that they found no indications of drug or alcohol use at the scene. They are continuing their investigation. Whether the pickup driver will be liable to the decedent's estate for wrongful death damages is the critical question to be answered.
The outcome of any claim made by the pedestrian's estate under Tennessee law will depend on the facts that are revealed as the case is further investigated. To some extent, the decedent's interests will be difficult to protect because he cannot give his version of what happened. If the estate retains an experienced personal injury firm right away, however, its chances will be enhanced. The attorney will conduct a thorough investigation and will see to it that photography and forensic testing are conducted at the scene to reconstruct the events of the car accident more accurately. The attorney will also see to it that witness statements are taken and that other evidence of fault is preserved.
Source: wsmv.com, "Pedestrian hit and killed after exiting car on I-65 South", Kyle Cooke, Aug. 19, 2017