Jefferson, GA, 12/2/05
According to a news report from Athens, a Jackson County woman was under the influence of a combination of drugs, including Oxycodone and Diazepam, at the time of a fatal April 1 wreck on U.S. Highway 441 just south of Commerce, according to a newly released indictment. Cindy Edwards Jackson, 37, was indicted this week on 10 counts, including serious injury by vehicle, driving under the influence, vehicular homicide and endangering a child while driving under the influence.
On April 1, Jackson was driving her Ford Explorer north on U.S. 441 when she crossed the center of the road about one-half mile south of Hoods Mill Road in Commerce, according to court records and the Georgia State Patrol. Jackson’s SUV crashed head-on with a Ford Mustang, according to the patrol.
The Mustang’s driver died as a result of the crash and a passenger in the Mustang was taken to Athens Regional Medical Center and later Atlanta for additional treatment, the patrol said previously. Jackson’s 6-year-old son was in the back seat of her Explorer at the time of the wreck, but was not hurt. The mother and son were taken to Athens Regional Medical Center after the wreck, according to the patrol.
Jackson is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 15 in Jackson County Superior Court, according to court records.
The challenge in the civil side of a case like this is not so much in complex liability issues, but in finding enough insurance coverage and assets to cover the damages because the drunk driver seldom has enough. A lawyer may search for multiple automobile liability and underinsured motorist coverages that can be “stacked.” A diligent lawyer might also explore possibilities of other parties who can be held financially responsible having played a substantial role in providing intoxicants to a person who they know will be driving. That is a difficult legal theory under Georgia law, but it must be explored. Product liability theories against auto manufacturers are less attractive in such cases now because of the proportional liability passed by the legislature last February.

The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).