Hours before New Year’s Eve 2017, a hit-and-run driver inflicted a fatal traumatic brain injury on a moped rider in Anderson County, South Carolina (SC). The deadly crash happened just before 8:25 pm on December 30 near the intersection of SC Highway 20/Trail Road and Cheddar Road.
State Highway Patrol troopers responded to the report of the hit-and-run collision but could not immediately determine how the larger vehicle and moped crashed. They found the moped rider critically injured and had her transported to a nearby hospital, where she died from her TBI the following morning. Multiple news reports identify the deceased victim as 44-year-old Ashley Porter of Belton.
Reporters also took pains to point out that the woman who lost her life was not wearing a helmet when the driver of the other vehicle struck her and fled the scene. South Carolina, however, does not require adults older than 21 to use head protection while operating a moped or motorcycle, Further, state laws and court decisions in South Carolina make it clear that failing to wear a helmet does not constitute contributory negligence of the sort that prevents filing and collecting on claims for personal injuries or wrongful deaths.
Investigators do not appear to have any leads on identifying or locating the driver who hit the moped rider and took off without alerting emergency medical personnel or providing first aid. If that translates into never finding the hit-and-run driver and holding that person accountable, the family of the moped rider who died after the crash on Highway 20 in Anderson County may need to invoke uninsured motorist provisions of their loved one’s auto insurance.
As explained on the South Carolina Depart of Insurance’s website, all licensed drivers in the state must carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. “This coverage pays if you are injured and/or your property is damaged by a hit-and-run driver,” the department states.
An insurance company will treat a claim for uninsured motorist coverage the same as a claim against another driver. This means that a family who makes a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased loved one must deal with insurance representatives who may challenge the validity of evidence and apply pressure to accept a quick and inadequate settlement.
Partnering with a caring and dedicated Carolina wrongful death attorney who has experience helping victims of moped crashes and with assisting claimants in uninsured motorist cases will allow the family to exercise all their legal rights.