An April 27, 2015, crash on Highway 29 in Belton, South Carolina (SC), involving a moped and a car appears to have been no accident. According to television station WYFF, Anderson County police investigating the collision that left the moped rider needing hospital treatment for lacerations and other injuries was caused by a driver who became angry when the motorbike’s owner refused to sell him the moped.
The wreck had originally been classified as a hit-and-run collision because the at-fault driver had fled the scene after swerving out of his own lane and making contact with the moped. The injured victim provided a detailed description of the car that struck him, and law enforcement officers used that information to track down the driver.
In addition to charges related to the crash, the at-fault driver has also been accused of attempted murder.
As a Carolina personal injury lawyer, I have often seen how much pain and suffering distracted, reckless and intoxicated drivers can inflict on moped and motorcycle riders. Learning that the person who caused this potentially fatal wreck in Belton apparently meant to end the victim’s life shocks and saddens me. It is fortunate that the man on the motorbike survived, and my law firm colleagues and I wish him a full and rapid return to health.
However the criminal charges get adjudicated, the victim of the alleged murder attempt may have grounds for seeking justice and compensation through the civil court system. State laws recognize a category of wrongful and injurious or deadly actions called intentional torts. Defined in the most basic terms, an intentional tort is an action taken with the knowledge that someone else could suffer a loss of money or goods, a physical injury or a loss of life. While laws related to personal injury and wrongful death cover negligence or recklessness, intentional tort law relates to a desire to hurt someone or deprive another person of his or her property.
The problem facing those injured by a driver committing a potentially intentional tort is that most car insurance policies do not cover such claims. On the other hand, a dangerous or reckless action is covered by a car insurance policy.
The awarding of monetary damages for intentional torts does not require a criminal conviction. However, evidence collected in the course of police investigations can be used to support claims for civil compensation.