Tragically, a young woman was killed this past week in a hit and run accident. She was crossing the street at approximately 12:00am when she was struck by a driver who then fled the scene of the accident. The man pictured in this WMBF news article is now facing reckless homicide charges for the hit and run accident that resulted in the death of this young woman. Driver charged in crash that killed CCU student – WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather. My heart goes out to the Groszack family as they mourn the loss of Elizabeth.
As a civilized society, our system provides a number of avenues by which one may be compensated for the loss of a loved one. For some of those friends and family members of loved ones lost, comfort is taken in the idea that the wrongdoer will have to face punishment in a court of law for his or her wrongdoing and/or be held civilly accountable for their negligence. But, even if the accused is found guilty of a criminal act or liable for their negligence, the sad reality is that the conviction and/or money damages will never bring the victim back to life nor will any amount of money put life back the way it was for the family. Never have I heard a grieving family state that they felt whole from a jury award or a sentence handed down. Typically, criminal sentences in these type cases are disgusting. I will go out on a limb and guess the guy above, if guilty, will get a probationary sentence or if drugs or alcohol were involved, a couple of years in jail. Our justice system allows for these actions to be taken, not only to address the suffering of the victim’s and their family but also to protect those in our community from similar acts occurring in the future.
The South Carolina Wrongful Death Act creates a cause of action for the death of any person by the intentional or neglectful act of another. An action for wrongful death is brought by a personal representative for the benefit of the family members of the deceased. The personal representative is usually the executor of the decedent’s estate. The parties in interest who the personal representative represent typically includes close family members. In a wrongful death action, you may be able to recover damages for your grief and sorrow, loss of companionship, mental shock and suffering as well as pecuniary loss among others. This particular case involved an automobile accident but a wrongful death action can be brought for a death resulting from medical malpractice and defective products as well. This is the most common avenue for families who have lost loved ones due to other’s negligence and/or intentional acts.
The impact of bringing this type of action not only addresses the family’s suffering but also acts as a deterrent to others. Most of us carry car insurance. With an act which is deemed negligent, a defendant who has insurance would be forced to pay through their insurance policy. When the policy limits are exhausted, a plaintiff may also recover personal property and possibly real estate of the defendant, if the defendant has such assets. Actions of this sort have shaped how our countries insurance laws work. One could argue that actions like this, shape our society as a whole. Take for example, insurance is required to drive. Insurance is higher for at-risk drivers because of these wrongful death actions. The more tickets you get, the higher risk you are for insurance purposes and the higher your rates are to purchase insurance. High rates prevent some from driving legally. If someone is caught driving without insurance, they are taken to jail. As one might imagine, actions for wrongful death not only address those who have directly suffered but also can possibly prevent someone from killing a loved one of yours by keeping at-risk drivers off the road.
If you have experienced a tragic loss of a family member such as the one mentioned above, contact Daniel Selwa today. You deserve to be compensated for the death of your loved one. Most importantly, know your rights and exercise them.