Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | August 12, 2020
A head-on collision claimed the life of one person and injured two others in Putman County.
On July 27, 2020, shortly after 3:00 in the afternoon, 84-year-old Robert Lewis and his wife, 83-year-old Katheryn Dukes, were on their way from Atlanta to Washington County on Highway 441 North. They lived in the 200 block of Long Shoals Road in Eatonton.
Mr. Lewis was driving a 2012 Toyota Highlander. He turned onto Bethany Church Road and crashed head-on into a 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer. Rosetta Samantha Harris, 48, was driving the Trailblazer.
Mr. Lewis and Ms. Harris were treated at the accident scene by first responders of the Putnam County Emergency Medical Services and the Putnam County Fire Rescue. AirEvac transported Ms. Harris to Navicent Health in Macon. Mr. Lewis was transported by ambulance to Piedmont Regional Hospital in Athens.
Tragically, Ms. Dukes was pronounced dead at the accident scene from her injuries.
There was no update on the condition of Mr. Dukes or Ms. Harris. The accident was still under investigation by officers with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
Head-On Collisions Can Result in Traumatic Injuries
Common injuries caused by frontal crashes include, but are not limited to:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Chest injuries
- Injuries to lower extremities
- Severe head and facial injuries
- Abdominal injuries
- Neck injuries
- Pelvic injuries
- Airbag injuries
If an occupant is not wearing a seat belt, the person can be thrown from the vehicle through the car’s windshield. Being thrown from the vehicle causes additional injuries, which may result in immediate death or permanent impairments. Victims of head-on collisions often sustain life-changing injuries that alter their standard of living and daily lives forever.
Causes of Head-On Collisions
One of the most common causes of frontal crashes is distracted driving. Distractions while driving take the driver’s attention away from the road ahead. The driver may not see a vehicle approaching in time to take evasive action, or a distracted driver may swerve into oncoming traffic.
Common distractions that contribute to the cause of car accidents include:
- Texting while driving
- Using cell phones
- Adjusting vehicle controls
- Eating and drinking
- Reaching for objects
- Caring for children or pets
Any activity that takes your attention away from driving is a potentially deadly distraction.
Another common reason for head-on accidents is impaired driving. Just two beers can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. However, drugged driving or buzzed driving can be just as dangerous.
Driving under the influence of marijuana or illicit drugs can be a factor in a head-on crash. Over-the-counter and prescription medications may also have side effects that impair a driver’s ability to operate the vehicle.
Damages Available for a Head-On Accident Claim
If you are involved in a head-on crash, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. You must prove that the other driver caused the crash. If you contributed to the cause of the crash, your compensation could be reduced by your percentage of blame.
Victims of a traffic accident may receive compensation for damages such as:
- Medical care and treatment
- Loss of wages, income, and benefits
- Physical pain and suffering
- Decreases in earning potential
- Personal care and assistance
- Emotional and mental distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Disfigurement and permanent impairments
The value of an accident claim depends on several factors. Your injuries and the amount of your financial losses are just two factors. Whether you had any blame for the cause of the accident is another factor.
However, the available insurance is another factor. The minimum liability car insurance per person is $25,000. In other words, the driver who caused your accident could have minimum car insurance.
If so, the most the insurance company must pay for your bodily injury claim is $25,000. The minimum liability insurance per occurrence is $50,000. That is not a lot of money to cover damages for an accident that causes severe injuries or permanent disabilities.
There could be other insurance available. If you carry underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance provider may be liable if your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.
In some cases, another party may share in the liability for the claim, which is an additional source of compensation. An accident attorney investigates all potential sources of compensation for a car accident claim.