In South Carolina and throughout the nation, people are held responsible
for their actions. When state legislatures create laws criminalizing acts,
such as assault, battery, domestic violence, drunk driving, manslaughter
and murder, violators face harsh consequences.
Generally, when someone knowingly and intentionally violates a state or
federal law, they will be arrested and charged with a crime. For example,
if someone “operates a motor vehicle” while they’re
under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can be charged with OUI
under Section 56-5-2930.
On the other hand, under
Section 16-3-600, when someone “assaults” another person and causes minor bodily
injury, the offender commits a misdemeanor, punishable by up to three
years in prison or by a fine not to exceed $2,500, or both – that’s
It’s clear that the state holds people accountable when they violate
state laws and commit a crime. However, what if someone did something
wrong and it was an
accident? Since the person lacked “intent,” will they still go to jail
What Sets Civil Cases Apart
Unfortunately, accidents happen all the time; it’s human nature.
When an individual or a company is careless or negligent and their behavior
causes someone else to get hurt, often they will not face criminal prosecution,
however, they can be held liable in civil court. It all depends on the law.
In other words, the victim or in the case of a
wrongful death, the victim’s surviving family members, can file a lawsuit against
the at-fault or liable party. The lawsuit may result in a settlement,
or if the parties cannot reach a settlement, a jury may decide on an award.
To demonstrate, here are some examples where a accident may lead to a personal
Under South Carolina’s
personal injury laws, injured parties have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit
against the at-fault party for damages, such as: pain and suffering, medical
bills, and lost income etc., and if there’s an opportunity, the
injured should seize it.
Sometimes a case can be both criminal and civil, for instance, in the case
of a drunk driving accident. Even though the drunk driver would be prosecuted
in criminal court, that does not bar the victim from filing a personal
injury lawsuit against the drunk driver. The drunk driver may face a criminal case
and a civil case.
Essentially, there are circumstances where someone will face criminal charges
for their behavior, yet the victim can still file a personal injury claim,
even if the liable party is in jail or awaiting their criminal trial.
Often, these cases are tied to
If you need a Columbia, SC personal injury attorney,
contact our office for a free case review!