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State Faulted in Teen’s 2010 Tennessee Car Accident Death

by mdp | June 17th, 2013

Emergency1The Tennessee Claims Commission recently placed some of the fault on the state in the tragic car accident that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Shipley Buckner in 2010. The three commissioners assigned 37.5% of the comparative fault to the state, while the driver of the vehicle involved in the collision was assigned 47.5% comparative fault, and Buckner herself was assigned 15% of comparative fault. Damages related to the deadly car accident were placed at $3.7 million, with $1.39 million (37.5%) attributed to the state, an amount that was reduced by 15%, or $208,523, for the comparative negligence of the claimant. Because the reduced amount of $1.18 million exceeds the statutory maximum of $300,000 per claimant, judgment awarded against the state was $300,000. If you have suffered car accident injuries in Tennessee, consult our knowledgeable lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to discuss your possible compensation options.

Liability Claim Filed Over Dangerous Guardrail

The liability claim was originally filed against the state of Tennessee on May 6, 2011, nearly one year after the fatal crash, which took place in the 9600 block of Hixson Pike in Tennessee. According to police, the vehicle in which Buckner was a passenger left the roadway and struck a tree, killing the 18-year-old senior at Baylor School in Chattanooga instantly. According to an attorney for the Buckner family, the liability claim centered on the contention that the guardrail located at the site of the fatal accident was too short in length and terminated near a dangerous object – the tree the vehicle collided with after leaving Highway 131. According to the judgment, the “Roadside Design Guide,” a manual commonly used in road building, required that the guardrail be extended an additional 150 to 200 feet from where it ended.

State Accused of Negligence in TN Teen’s Death

The unfortunate truth is that the extension of the guardrail at the crash site was scheduled before Buckner’s fatal car accident occurred, and an extended guardrail would have taken the vehicle the teen was in past the tree that the vehicle struck when it left the road. “Based on these considerations, we find the State knew that the site of this accident was dangerous. Since prior to May 9, 2010, plans had already been made to extend the guardrail 150 feet,” the Tennessee Claims Commission stated in its decision. “Therefore, we conclude that the state’s fault consists of the fact that it put in place a guardrail which was too short in length and terminated in close proximity to a large tree. These failures were further complicated by the fact that the guardrail was adjacent to a fairly acute curve which many drivers could be expected to enter at an excessive speed,” the commission stated.

Contact Our Experienced Lawyers for Legal Help

As a result of the negligence assigned to the state of Tennessee, the claims commission attributed 37.5% of the comparative fault in causing the tragic car accident to the state. If you have been injured in a serious car accident in Nashville, or elsewhere in Tennessee, your first course of action should be to contact our reputable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates. Our law firm is located in Nashville, and our legal team has years of experience protecting the legal rights of car accident victims throughout the state. With our skilled lawyers on your side, you can protect yourself and your family from further harm, and pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.


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