Tennessee Court Analyzes Evidence Needed to Prove the State’s Liability for an Accident

While the majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by one or more person’s negligent driving, some accidents are caused by defects or dangerous conditions on the roadway. In cases where a Tennessee motorcycle accident is caused by an unsafe road, anyone injured in the accident may pursue claims against the person or entity responsible for maintaining the road. Proving the liability of a government contractor or entity for an accident caused by a dangerous condition presents unique challenges, however, as different laws and standards apply to the government and its contractors than the laws applicable in typical car accident cases.

A Tennessee court recently explained the evidence needed to sustain a claim against the State and a contractor hired by the State to pave a highway, in a case in which a motorcyclist was injured in an accident caused by loose gravel.  If you were injured in a Tennessee motorcycle accident that was caused by a dangerous condition on a road or highway, you should consult a seasoned Tennessee motorcycle accident attorney regarding the evidence you need to prove liability for your harm.

Facts Regarding the Accident

Allegedly, the plaintiff was traveling over a portion of a highway maintained by the defendant State, that was recently been paved by the defendant contractor when the plaintiff struck a patch of loose gravel and lost control of his motorcycle. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries in the accident, and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging they were liable for his injuries due to negligence and defective construction. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff couldn’t produce evidence showing that the gravel was from the defendant contractor’s paving project, or that either defendant had notice of the allegedly dangerous condition prior to the accident. Further, the defendant contractor argued that the State Construction Projects Liability Act precluded liability. The trial court granted the defendants’ motions and the plaintiff appealed.

Evidence Admissible to Prove Liability

The trial court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motions, in part, due to a finding that expert testimony was needed to establish the origin of the gravel. On appeal, the appellate court disagreed with the trial court, holding that expert testimony was not necessary to determine whether the gravel on the road came from the paving project, as the average layperson could understand the physical characteristics of gravel and the mechanics of the paving process. After determining that lay testimony was admissible, the court then turned to the issue of whether the admissible evidence was sufficient to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to the defendants’ knowledge of the dangerous condition.

Upon review, the court found that there was sufficient evidence to show that it was possible the defendant contractor failed to comply with the specifications set forth under the project and that both the defendant contractor and the defendant State had constructive notice of the dangerous condition created by the gravel. Thus, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s order granting the defendants’ motions for summary judgment.

Consult an Experienced Tennessee Motorcycle Accident Attorney About Your Accident

If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident in Tennessee you should consult an experienced Tennessee motorcycle accident attorney regarding your case and what you need to prove to recover compensation. Attorney Eric Beasley is a skilled Tennessee motorcycle accident attorney who can assist you in seeking the best legal result possible under the facts of your case. You can reach Mr. Beasley at 615-859-2223 or via the online form to schedule a consultation.