Outer Banks Cast Member Killed In Hit-and-Run Accident on James Island
Tragedy struck the community of James Island this week when 22-year-old Alexander “AJ” Jennings was hit by two vehicles while he was walking along Sol Legare Road. Jennings was a stand-in on the Netflix series Outer Banks, although the accident did not take place on the set.
The fatal accident took place on July 5, 2022 between 2:30 and 3 a.m. Neither vehicle’s driver stopped to attempt to help the man they had fatally injured. Instead, both drivers fled. This scenario is all too common in South Carolina.
South Carolina Hit-and-Run Statistics
The first step in protecting yourself from becoming a part of the hit-and-run statistics is understanding and being aware of the danger these accidents pose. At MDSW, we understand that these statistics are more than numbers; they represent serious injuries, lives that are forever changed, and lives that are lost here in South Carolina:
- According to data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, there were 3,932 hit-and-run accidents in the state in 2018.
- According to a report by the National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America, between 2010 and 2019, South Carolina was the fourth-worst state for pedestrian accidents.
- According to a report by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, fatal vehicle accidents are on the rise, increasing from 430 fatal wrecks between January 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020 to 461 during that same period in 2021.
Statistics like these are the reason it is critical that anyone who walks, cycles, or drives on our roads needs to understand what to do if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident and how to protect yourself.
Protect Yourself Against Hit-and-Runs With Insurance Coverage
In the accident that claimed the life of AJ Jennings, one driver was caught and identified and the other was not. When an at-fault driver is known, you can protect yourself financially by filing a claim to recover your damages. However, when a driver is not known, it is your insurance company that will cover your damages–provided you have adequate coverage.
These are the types of insurance coverage every South Carolina motorist should carry:
- Uninsured Motorist (UM): This type of coverage protects you against hit-and-run drivers who aren’t caught and drivers who do not have insurance, and it’s mandated by law in this state.
- Medical Payment (MedPay): This type of coverage isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good idea. MedPay will typically cover $10,000 or less in out-of-pocket expenses–even if you haven’t settled your claim yet.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This type of coverage is also not mandatory in this state, but it is highly recommended. PIP can reimburse you for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related costs.
Don’t forget to file your insurance claim in a timely manner after a hit-and-run accident. If you miss your insurance company’s deadline to file, you may lose your chance to get compensation.
What to Do if You’re in a Hit-and-Run Accident in South Carolina
Knowing what to do if you are hit by a driver who flees the scene can increase your chances of being able to identify them later so you can hold them accountable. It can also keep you safe. Here’s what you should do if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run.
Do Not Chase the Driver
When someone is desperate enough to avoid consequences that they are willing to break the law, they can become unpredictable. A driver who is willing to hit another vehicle and then leave the scene may also harm you or others, whether deliberately or by accident. No matter how tempted you are to chase the driver, it is dangerous to you and everyone in the vicinity.
Document the Scene
Getting as much documentation as you can is the key to identifying a hit-and-run driver. When possible to do safely, take photographs of the at-fault driver’s vehicle. You should also write down anything you can remember, including the make and model of the vehicle, the license plate number, any witness statements, and anything else you believe may be relevant later.
Contact Law Enforcement
You should call the police as soon as possible after a hit-and-run accident. Give the police any information or documentation you have. This will help law enforcement to identify the driver who hit you later. You can visit this website to learn more about police reports in Charleston, SC. You should also report a collision the SCDMV.
Talk to a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
To make sure your rights are protected, it’s best to contact a South Carolina car accident attorney if you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run. A lawyer can help you identify the at-fault driver using evidence like footage from security cameras and eyewitness testimony.
At this time, no charges have been filed in the case of AJ Jennings’ fatal hit-and-run accident, and it remains to be seen whether or not wrongful death lawsuits will be filed.