• May 16, 2017

Logan Pederson Killed, Robert & Samantha Hudson Injured in Nashville, TN, Accident

Nashville, TN -- May 15, 2017, Logan Pederson was killed, Robert and Samantha Hudson were injured, in an accident where a dump truck crashed into traffic.

Authorities from the Nashville Police Department released preliminary information surrounding the accident which occurred at around 9:00 a.m. near the interchange of I-440 and US 431/21st Avenue South.

Police officials indicated that traffic was slowing down in the westbound lanes of I-440. At the back of the line was a 2008 Mercury Mariner driven by 40-year-old Robert Hudson. As traffic waited, it was struck from behind by a dump truck driven by 40-year-old Shawn Gardner. This collision caused the Mariner to hit at least two other vehicles and overturn.

Due to the crash, 2-year-old Pederson sustained critical injuries and was transported to a local hospital for intensive care. He later succumbed to his injuries. His parents, Robert and 21-year-old Samantha Hudson were also taken to a hospital for treatment of non-critical injuries. No other injuries were reported.

According to reports, Gardner told police he was looking for dropped items in the floorboard of the truck when the accident occurred. Police did not say if any charges or citations are being considered.

Investigations are ongoing.

Map of the Area

Commentary

Reports say that the truck driver admitted he was reaching around in his floorboard when the accident occurred. The only reason I can think that he would say this is if he was simply being honest with investigators and admitting to his mistake. Now while many people are going to see that as good as an admission of guilt on the part of the truck driver, there's an unfortunate reality after any commercial truck accident; when victims file a claim, they're not dealing with the truck driver; they're dealing with the trucking company. I have enough experience filing claims against trucking companies to know that no case involving a commercial vehicle--regardless of how clear fault may seem--comes without complications.

Even if the driver of the truck admits fault to police investigators, the trucking company's defense team can minimize this statement by claiming that the driver was rattled after the severe accident and not thinking straight. For example, they could say the driver was digging in his floorboards, but that was well before the crash. They could even try to skirt the issue altogether. A common defense trucking companies try to use is to argue that the proximate cause of the accident was traffic coming to a sudden stop, not their driver's inattention.

Now to reasonable people, this argument doesn't really hold up. After all, drivers have a responsibility to control their speed and following distance in such a way to prevent accidents like this from happening even if the vehicle ahead of the stops suddenly. On a more basic level, we all have a duty to keep our eyes on the road. Failure to do so most likely means they failed to perform basic duties that they owed to other motorists.

You might be thinking, "Surely, these transparent gimmicks can't actually work?" In some circumstances they can because determining liability is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Should an accident like this is go to a civil trial, even a bad defense with bad evidence can defeat a good theory of liability with no evidence to support it.

This is why I always advocate that those affected by commercial truck accidents get professional aid as soon as they can after an accident. It's difficult to think about such things after a tragedy occurs, but the harsh reality is that holding a negligent trucking company accountable for their actions is often a time-sensitive matter. The sooner the evidence is collected, the less time the trucking company has to alter or even destroy the evidence, allowing those affected to put together a solid case which an experienced professional can then use against the trucking company.

Like I said, even the most straight-forward accidents involving commercial vehicles will involve struggles when seeking compensation, but these obstacles can be overcome with a solid case built upon tangible evidence and the aid of an experienced professional who knows how to handle trucking companies. Ultimately, this can be the difference between the trucking company getting away with causing a serious accident and a family getting justice for their loss.

--Grossman Law Offices

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