Tennessee Court Discusses Sufficiency of Evidence in a Car Accident Case

Driving a car is generally safe but it is not without risks and being involved in a car accident can cause substantial injuries and, in some cases, death. Although many car accidents are caused by other drivers, unexpected hazards in the roadway can cause collisions as well. While many roadway hazards are caused by natural conditions, in some cases a hazard may be caused by a person’s negligence. In a recent Tennessee case, an appellate court addressed the issue of what constitutes sufficient evidence of a defendant’s responsibility for creating a hazardous condition that caused an accident, to avoid dismissal of a case. If you suffered harm in a Tennessee car accident due to a hazardous condition that was created by another person you should speak with a trusted Tennessee car accident attorney as soon as possible regarding your options for seeking recourse.

Alleged Facts Regarding the Accident

It is reported that the plaintiffs’ decedent was driving his car on a roadway, when he hit a bull that was standing in the middle of the road. The impact caused his car to veer off the road and flip upside down in a nearby creek. The decedent subsequently drowned. The plaintiffs, the wife and children of the decedent, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he owned the bull and was negligent in failing to control it. The defendant denied that he owned the bull. Following the completion of discovery, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted.

Allegedly, the trial court stated that due to the lack of direct evidence that the defendant owned the bull, the defendant was entitled to summary judgment. Further, the court stated that there was not sufficient evidence that the defendant testified falsely at his deposition as to his ownership of the bull. The plaintiffs appealed the trial court ruling, which the appellate court reversed.

Sufficient Evidence to Prove Ownership

To grant a motion for summary judgment, the court must find that there are no true issues of the material facts of a case.  The plaintiffs argued that the trial court blindly accepted the defendant’s argument that he did not own the bull, despite the lack of evidence. On appeal, the court noted that there was conflicting testimony presented throughout the course of the case as to what type of cattle the defendant owned and as to what type of bull was involved in the accident. Thus, the court noted that a sufficient factual discrepancy existed to make summary judgment improper. Further, the court stated that the plaintiffs could prove their case via circumstantial evidence, and did not need to rely on direct evidence, as indicated by the trial court. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Trusted Tennessee Car Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Case

If you were injured in a Tennessee car accident it is essential to meet with a trusted Tennessee car accident attorney to discuss your case and what evidence you must produce to hold another party responsible for your harm. Attorney Eric Beasley is a seasoned Tennessee car accident attorney who will craft effective arguments on your behalf to help you seek your desired outcome. Mr. Beasley can be contacted through the online form or at 615-859-2223 to set up a meeting to discuss your options.