Alleged Hit and Run Driver Faces Charges

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A woman is in custody after allegedly causing a near-fatal pedestrian knockdown in Aiken County.


The wreck took place on Howlandville Road in Warrenville. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, a vehicle swerved off the road and struck a pedestrian, whose name was not released, that was walking on the shoulder. The vehicle immediately fled the scene, leaving the pedestrian behind in critical condition. Authorities initially had no leads, but were later able to tentatively identify the vehicle as a 2014 Chevy Tahoe and the driver as 35-year-old Tessa Key.


The SCHP is still investigating the crash.


Vehicle-Pedestrian Crashes


Pedestrians are seriously at risk almost every time they walk across the street. Statistically, they account for only about 10 percent of trips but 14 percent of roadway fatalities. Moreover, one pedestrian is seriously injured about every eight minutes. And, although many cities are undergoing efforts to make walking safer, the casualty rate has only leveled off slightly over the past several years. This suggests that motorists’ driving habits, as opposed to street configurations, are behind most pedestrian knockdowns.


The injury/fatality rate is high, in part, because pedestrians are completely exposed to danger. Some serious injuries include:


  • Head and Neck Injuries: Even a low- or medium-speed crash can cause permanent injury in these areas.


  • Broken Bones: These injuries, especially injuries to the lower extremities, cause significant loss of mobility that is often permanent, at least to some extent.


  • Internal Injuries: Much like brain injuries, damage to internal organs like the heart and lungs can be difficult to diagnose and treat.


Victims in these cases are entitled to compensation for both their economic and noneconomic losses.


Hit and Run Crashes


Roughly half of all hit and run drivers are eventually caught and prosecuted. Some drivers are apprehended not far away from the scene and shortly after the collision, while in other cases, peace officers identify the drivers after an investigation.


The percentage may be even higher in civil court. First, there is a lower standard of evidence, so proof of vehicle ownership is normally enough for a jury to conclude that the owner was the driver. Second, most attorneys partner with private investigators who can devote more time and attention to interviewing witnesses and following up on leads.


If the driver is identified, punitive damages are often available. Hit-and-run is negligence per se, which creates a presumption in favor of punitive damages. If the jurors find that the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) conduct was especially reprehensible, as is often the case in these instances, they will award additional damages.


Even if the driver is not identified, victims still have legal options. If they had uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, victims may be able to obtain compensation from their own insurance companies. These matters often settle quickly and on plaintiff-friendly terms, because the insurance company does not want to lose a customer.


Reach Out to a Feisty Lawyer


For prompt assistance with a car crash claim, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Charleston. At David Aylor Law Offices, we routinely handle cases in Charleston County and nearby jurisdictions.

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