Joseph Driggers Dead, Benjamin Jackson, Shianne Richardson Injured in Lowndes Co., GA, Accident
Lowndes County, GA, -- February 24, 2017, Joseph Driggers was killed, Benjamin Jackson and Shianne Richardson were injured, after an 18-wheeler accident.
Authorities from the Georgia State Highway Patrol reported that the accident occurred just after 11:00 a.m. along State Route 7.
According to their preliminary reports, an 18-wheeler was traveling down Inner Perimeter Road and approached the intersection of Route 7. The driver reportedly failed to yield the right of way to highway traffic and entered the path of an oncoming Pontiac G6, causing a collision.
After this collision, the 18-wheeler veered into oncoming traffic where it was hit head-on by a Mitsubishi. The driver of the Mitsubishi, 46-year-old Driggers, died at the scene.
55-year-old Jackson, Driggers' passenger, had critical injuries and was airlifted to a local hospital. 22-year-old Richardson, the driver of the Pontiac, had incapacitating injuries and was also taken to a hospital. The driver of the 18-wheeler, Daniel Marx, sustained minor injuries.
Authorities did not specify if any charges or citations were filed after the crash. They say the accident remains under investigation.
Map of the Area
This particular incident involves one person who lost their life and two others who were said to have serious injuries, meaning high medical costs and potentially permanent damage. In an accident like that, it's entirely possible that the at fault trucking company's policy limit isn't enough to fairly compensate both victims. Depending on the details of the accident and the representation of the victims, one or both people could be compensated far less than they deserve.
The federal minimum insurance coverage a commercial truck accident is $750,000. I think most people would agree that losing a loved one is worth far more than that, yet in many states that's the most that a trucking company is obligated to provide if found liable for an accident. Consider an accident where you might have multiple fatalities and injuries requiring extensive medical treatment, all the sudden that policy limit is getting sliced pretty thin. This often results in a race to the courthouse as people try to get as much as possible.
People often ask, "How is insurance money divided among victims after an accident like this?" Does the family of the deceased get the lion's share of any compensation, or does it go to the living with large medical bills? The law is silent on this issue. There is no formula sitting in a dusty law-book somewhere that tells a judge or jury how to act.
A Civil War general once said that his key to victory was to "Get there first with the most men." That maxim could be tweaked for victims in accidents where the damages far exceed the available insurance money. It would read something like, "Get there first with the most evidence." Insurance companies are free to settle with a claimant at any time. The one they're generally most inclined to settle with is the one who can hurt them most in front of a jury. By being first in line, with the most evidence, the victims stand the best chance of not being short-changed.
The takeaway here is that just because someone suffers a great loss does not mean a trucking company will be able to fairly cover it--and that's even assuming they offer a fair amount in the first place, which almost never happens. The harsh reality is that no matter how simple someone's case seems, getting justice after a commercial truck accident is always a complex affair.
--Grossman Law Offices