Wedding Day Golf Cart Settlement

Samantha Miller and Aric Hutchinson on Their Wedding Night

A dream day ended in a nightmare. A groom took his bride, and later that night, lost her in a terrible accident. What civil and criminal repercussions face the individuals and companies responsible for the accident that killed a bride on her wedding night?

A Wedding and a Tragic Accident

Samantha Miller and Aric Hutchinson invited family and friends to celebrate their wedding on April 28, 2023 at Folly Beach, South Carolina. The couple got married on the beach and celebrated at a nearby reception.

The couple and two friends took a ride in a golf cart to return to their rooms after the reception, when they were struck by a fast-moving vehicle.

A Toyota Camry going 65 mph in a 25 mph zone ran into the back of the golf cart and sent it flying 100 yards. Hutchinson and two others survived the crash. Hutchinson was seriously injured, sustaining a brain injury and multiple broken bones. Miller died on the scene, still wearing her wedding dress.

Now, both civil and criminal courts are placing blame on the parties who caused the terrible accident.

Related: What’s the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Case? 

Civil Lawsuits Filed

Hutchinson filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the companies he and his legal team believe are partially responsible for the accident.

At least three Folly Beach bars were listed in the lawsuit. The suit claims the establishments overserved 26-year-old Jamie Lee Komoroski, who was driving the Toyota that slammed into the golf cart.

Komoroski’s blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit. She reportedly refused to take a sobriety test and almost fell while dealing with officers after the accident, according to FOX News 13.

The lawsuit named three bars they say over-served Komoroski, along with two rental car companies. The listed defendants, among others, included:

  • Crab Shack
  • Drop In Bar & Deli
  • Snapper Jacks
  • Progressive
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Related: Examples of Wrongful Death Cases Worth Fighting For

Settlements in Civil Suits

In June 2024, CBS News reported that Hutchinson settled part of the civil wrongful death suit. Companies are said to have settled for over $1.3 million. The settlement includes:

  • $640,000 from the Crab Shack
  • $320,000 from the Folly Deli
  • $320,000 from The Drop In Bar & Deli
  • $75,000 from Progressive
  • $24,000 from Enterprise Rent-A-Car

The settlement does not include all defendants in the case.

Related: What To Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault 

Criminal Charges Against the Driver

In addition to the civil case, a criminal case is pending in the accident. Komoroski, the driver of the car that struck the golf cart, was charged with felony driving under the influence resulting in death, reckless homicide, and two counts of felony driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury.

In South Carolina, the penalties for:

  • DUI resulting in death is a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison and up to 25 years in prison.
  • Reckless homicide is a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
  • DUI resulting in great bodily injury is a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail and up to 15 years in prison.

Komoroski faces serious criminal charges, as well as civil charges.

Related: Injured in a Car Accident? Here’s What You Need to Do Right Away.

Civil Charges Against the Driver

When a driver is responsible for an accident that leads to serious injury or death, the driver can face criminal as well as civil charges. The injured party or the family of the injured party can sue for personal injury or wrongful death.

Komoroski was also named in the civil suit filed by Hutchinson.

While five companies listed as defendants have settled, Komoroski’s part of the case is still pending. If she is found guilty in the case, she may be ordered to pay financial damages to cover costs associated with both Miller’s death and Hutchinson’s injuries.

Personal injury and wrongful death cases may order guilty parties to pay financial compensation to cover the costs of:

  • Existing and future medical bills
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Emotional trauma
  • Debilitating long-term physical impairments
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Damage to lifestyle because of the injury
  • Funeral costs

Both Komoroski’s criminal and civil cases are still pending.

Related: Types of Personal Injury Cases: Do You Have a Claim? 

Get Justice After a Car Accident

If a loved one is injured or killed due to the negligence of another party, you deserve justice. Talk to a personal injury attorney today to see how you can fight to get financial compensation to help cover the costs and emotional trauma caused by the accident.

Get advice about your case today. Schedule a free consultation with TJ Grimaldi. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 now.

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