• May 19, 2017

Michael James Haddeman Killed in Brunswick, GA, Accident

Brunswick, GA -- May 15, 2017, Michael James Haddeman was killed following an accident where his car was struck by a FedEx 18-wheeler.

Investigators from the Georgia State Highway Patrol responded to the accident scene at around 6:30 a.m. north of Brunswick, just past golden Isles Parkway.

According to police officials, a FedEx semi hauling a double-trailer was traveling southbound along I-95. For reasons unclear, the truck lost control and swerved to the side of the road, crashing through the center divider. It entered northbound lanes where it crashed head-on into a Chevy Equinox before continuing off the other side of the road.

The driver of the Chevy, 44-year-old Haddeman, died in the crash. The driver of the 18-wheeler, 51-year-old James Morton, and his passenger, 45-year-old Salazar Guzman, were not injured.

Police did not say what factors contributed to the accident nor whether or not any charges or citations were filed.

Investigations are ongoing.

Map of the Area

Commentary

A lot of people read accidents like this one and think that since the truck crossed over the center divider, they're automatically going to be placed at fault for the accident. This isn't necessarily the case, and there's a very particular reason why holding a trucking company accountable, especially one as large as FedEx, can be problematic. I've talked a lot about the blame-shifting tactics which trucking companies often use to avoid liability for accidents, but there's an elephant in the room that I usually avoid. It has to do with the fact that a large trucking company has a lot--and I mean a lot--of money with which to fight claims. It also has an equally large incentive to use that money to defend itself.

Not to delve too deeply into the legal inside baseball surrounding the issue, but in most truck accident claims, the policy limit of the trucking company's insurance coverage is the only available compensation for victims and their families. Smaller trucking companies rarely have assets to recover a judgment that exceeds the insurance policy, so even when damages far exceed the policy limit, there's rarely any way to recover the full amount.

However, with large corporations, there is a lot more on the line, and therefore more potential for massive damages, those that come when someone is struck down in their prime or suffer a debilitating injury to be fully compensated. As a result, the stakes are much higher, and larger corporations have much greater incentive to fight against claims of liability. Usually, this means throwing money at the problem to prevent the loss of even more money. As such, bringing a large trucking company to justice for such a serious accident is never easy task.

Quite Frankly, most personal injury attorneys won't have the first clue of how to tackle a claim involving such a large company that has a lot of resources with which to defend itself. Further, even a settlement far below what the victims deserve is likely to be substantially more than many attorneys make in a year. As a consequence, it is absolutely crucial that victims and their families thoroughly vet any professional they seek help from to ensure the person they're getting to assist them has extensive experience in these matters.

I started off by pointing out how most people mistakenly believe that resolving these kinds of accidents is easy, but I fear that some people may read what I've written and concluded that getting justice in these kinds of cases is impossible. The truth lies squarely in the middle of those extremes. In the end, the law is a valuable tool which can level the field between the big and the small, the powerful and the powerless; but like any tool, it's only as effective as the person wielding it.

--Grossman Law Offices

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