I represented a sixteen year old girl who was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an eighteen year old boy that was merging from Lovell Road onto the Pellissippi Parkway southbound when the vehicle in which she was riding was struck by a tractor trailer truck. I also represented a twenty-three year old male who was riding with his brother when they were merging onto Pellissippi Parkway southbound on the same entrance ramp from Lovell Road and collided with another vehicle approximately one year earlier. The twenty-three year old male suffered a knee injury requiring surgery but recovered. Unfortunately, both the sixteen year old female we represented and the driver of the vehicle in which she was a passenger were killed in the second accident.
Dangerous roads can lead to serious injuries. The State of Tennessee, as well as the 96 counties that make up the State and scores of municipalities, assume the responsibility of designing, constructing and maintaining tens of thousands of miles of roadways throughout the State of Tennessee. Unfortunately, from time to time, citizens using these roadways are involved in serious and tragic accidents due, in large part, to the failure of the State, or a city or county, to properly design, construct, or maintain a safe roadway. This article addresses the legal responsibility of the State of Tennessee to those persons using roadways that are designed, constructed or maintained by the State of Tennessee. The principles of liability that apply to counties and municipalities are similar.