The eastbound lanes of Stone Mountain Freeway were shut down on Tuesday afternoon after nine people had to be cut out from an overturned van. Six people were airlifted to Atlanta area hospitals including Grady Memorial Hospital and Atlanta Medical Center. The wreck occurred during rush hour traffic between Stone Mountain Industrial and Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain, Georgia. There were some, as yet unconfirmed, reports that the van was a Southern Company commuter van carrying Georgia Power employees. Witnesses reported that a Dodge Stratus clipped the van as the driver of the sedan attempted to make a lane change.
Recovery for the injured passengers and driver for this accident could become complicated. First, it initially from the news reports it appears the driver of the Stratus is likely at fault. However, there are likely nine victims, some with injuries as severe as death. Depending on the insurance coverages carried by that driver, there will likely not be enough insurance to cover the damages for all nine injured victims. Unfortunately, many drivers carry only the minimum liability limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 total per accident. If any of the van riders had Underinsured Motorist Coverage, it could potentially be extremely helpful here.
It also appears the van involved is owned by VPSI, a company that leases commuter vans to cities across the country. The Michigan-based company issued a statement explaining that its vans are usually driven by employees of the local companies providing commuter van services. Initial reports indicate the van was not at fault for the accident. If additional investigation reveals otherwise, it is not clear who would be responsible for the resulting damages. More information about who was driving the van and which local company provided the commuter service would be needed.
The injured who were on a van supplied by their employer may also be considered "in the course of" and "in the scope of" employment. If so, workers compensation claims could be filed. The van driver may be an actual employee and would have access to workers compensation benefits.
Part of the insurance search would depend on the leasing arrangement and a determination of who leased the van and whether the passengers paid for the service. If a municipality or authority owned the van then they will hide behind immunity given to them by the state legislature.
The only likely place from which the injured victims of negligence would be able to find funds to help pay for their injuries is the amount of UNINSURED MOTORISTS COVERAGE that each passenger purchased on their own vehicles.
There are many other places that a Trial Lawyers office would search to find liability and resources to help relieve the overwhelming financial pressure these innocent victims have suffered in the past and will suffer in the future. The lesson for readers is to purchase all of the Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Med Pay Coverage that you can find from a reputable insurance company. Don't rely on the other guy to protect you and your family.
At Kaufman Law, we see clients everyday who've been injured in accidents through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, many times a limited insurance policy held by the defendant prevents them from recovering enough to be truly compensated for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please contact our office at 888-973-2540 (888-WRECK-404) 24 hours a day to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your legal rights.