Hit and Run: What Happens When Someone Leaves an Accident Scene?
Every state has laws that prohibit involved parties from leaving the scene of a car accident, which is commonly called hit and run. South Carolina is no different and requires all parties involved in any type of car crash to stay at the scene until law enforcement arrives.
These laws are in place to ensure that people involved in car accidents get medical help if they are injured, get police reports filed, and obtain each other’s contact and insurance information.
What to Do After a Hit-and-Run? Call South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, these are the steps you should take:
- Call 911: Even if the other driver left the scene, you still need to file a police report. The police may also be able to locate the other vehicle.
- Get medical attention: If you or someone else in your vehicle needs medical attention, be sure to give the 911 operator that information so they can dispatch emergency medical services in addition to law enforcement. If medical care is ongoing after the accident, be sure to follow up with your doctors, therapists, or any other medical professionals until you are officially released from their care concerning the crash.
- Write down any information about the other vehicle and driver you can remember: If you got the license plate, write it down. Write down the make, model, and color of the vehicle. If you saw the driver and can remember any details about him or her, write those descriptors down. Everything you can remember will aid law enforcement in locating the hit-and-run driver.
- If there were witnesses to the hit-and-run accident, be sure to get their contact information: If they can stay until law enforcement arrives, they may be able to give details about the collision that you don’t know or didn’t see.
- Document the accident scene: Take photos of the scene, including anything that might have contributed to the accident (for example, non-working traffic lights, obscured traffic signs, hazardous road conditions). Take photos of the damage to your vehicle as well.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Hit-and-Run Accidents
If the hit-and-run driver is located, then they will likely face criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident. In the majority of hit-and-run accidents, the drivers leave the scene of a car accident because:
- They do not have car insurance.
- They were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- They have outstanding warrants or other unresolved legal matters against them.
In many cases, the hit-and-run driver is never found. However, you may still have options for recovering compensation. If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident in South Carolina, the state lets you file a suit against the “John or Jane Doe” who left the scene of the crash and get the accident damage and medical costs covered by the uninsured motorist (UM) portion of your car insurance.
To use this coverage, you will need to meet the following criteria:
- Report the accident within a reasonable timeframe after it happens.
- Actual contact with the other vehicle caused the crash and injuries, or you had a car accident and hit something other than the hit-and-run vehicle, but that vehicle caused the accident. You must have a witness to the accident sign an affidavit that confirms this.
- You are not negligent in identifying the hit-and-run driver.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-803-366-0333
If You Can Identify the Hit-and-Run Driver, You Can Take Legal Action
There is still a chance that the police will be able to identify a hit-and-run driver eventually. They may review traffic camera footage or surveillance footage from around the area and get a glimpse at the license plate, for example. They may also be able to gather information from witnesses.
If they are successful in identifying the driver who fled the scene of the accident, you can file a claim with their insurer if they have a policy. You also have the option to hire a personal injury lawyer and file a lawsuit. Your hot-and-run car accident lawyers can handle your entire case while you rest and recover.
They can seek the following damages:
- Your current and future medical expenses
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death damages
You don’t have to take on the insurance company alone. You have the right to hire legal representation.
Contact Us Now for Help with a Hit-and-Run Accident Claim
If you were hurt in a hit-and-run accident, the South Carolina car crash attorneys of Schiller & Hamilton are here to help you. We know that you did the responsible thing and remained at the scene of the crash while the other driver did not. We are here to make sure that you do not pay out of pocket for someone else’s thoughtless and criminally negligent actions.
Get a free, no-obligation consultation by calling us or contacting us online today.