In all the chaos that an accident causes, it is easy to get confused about what to do after a hit-and-run in South Carolina. Here are the first things you should do to protect yourself after such an event:
- Attend to your own health and safety
- Ensure the health and safety of others
- File a car accident report with the police
- Consult a South Carolina car accident lawyer about your legal rights
Getting Help After a South Carolina Hit and Run
After the accident, you will want to dial 911 right away. Even if you do not feel you were seriously injured, asking for professional help immediately after the crash can:
- Create a record that the crash happened, which in turn may make it easier for you to take legal action at a later date
- Get a police officer to the scene, and they can both assist anyone who needs it and collect evidence that could help them trace the hit-and-run driver
- Protect you and others from unnecessary suffering since some car accident injury symptoms take hours or days to develop—in other words, just because you feel okay for the moment does not mean you were uninjured
If you are well enough, check on the condition of others involved in the accident, including passengers and pedestrians, while you wait for the authorities to arrive. You can also be proactive about collecting evidence for your future legal case by:
- Writing down any details you remember about the hit-and-run driver, such as the color or make of their car
- Taking photos or video of your injuries, the state of your car, and the roadway environment where the accident happened
- Asking anyone who witnessed the crash if they can give you their name and phone number so that your lawyer can reach them later
Remember that your health is your top priority after an accident. Do not delay medical care or risk worsening your injury just to obtain evidence. Your personal injury lawyer can build up your case file later.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-803-366-0333
Filing a Hit and Run Accident Report in South Carolina
To create a record proving the hit and run happened like you say it did, you should file a police report as soon as possible after your collision. You can do this by:
- Dialing 911 from the accident scene
- Visiting the station in person after you have received emergency medical care
- Providing succinct but honest answers to each of the officer’s questions
You may or may not have the chance to consult a car accident attorney before talking to the police. If you do get that chance, your legal counsel can help you figure out what to say and how to say it. If you do not speak to a lawyer first, just know that you should:
- Keep your answers factual and to the point
- Avoid speculating about what “might” or “could” have happened
- Avoid statements that could be viewed as incriminating, such as apologies
- Remember that “I do not know” is an acceptable answer if you are unsure about something
- Speak to no one but the police and your doctor about the accident until you get the chance to talk to a lawyer
In addition to speaking with you, the police will talk to everyone else on the scene and collect the same types of evidence that you may have gathered prior to their arrival (e.g., photographs). All of this information will go into an official report. Your attorney can request a copy of that report as evidence in your lawsuit.
Are Hit and Runs Illegal in South Carolina?
Per S.C. Ann. § 56-5-1210, a hit-and-run driver is defined as anyone who fails to:
- Stop as close to the accident scene as possible
- Make sure all injured parties get medical help, as necessary
- Provide their name and address and their car’s registration number to the injured party, and show the injured party their driver’s license upon request
If the accident driver temporarily leaves the scene to get help and then returns, this is not considered a hit-and-run.
You should know that leaving an accident scene without completing these tasks is a crime in South Carolina. The severity of the punishment depends on how much damage the accident driver inflicted.
Hit and Runs and South Carolina Law
State law gives you the right to file a legal action against anyone who causes a personal injury through negligence. South Carolina law, found at S.C. Ann. § 15-3-530, gives you three years to begin such a case.
Unfortunately, getting compensation after a hit-and-run may be challenging, since your lawyer cannot follow the usual route of seeking a settlement from the liable party’s insurer (unless they can find the hit-and-run driver). However, getting compensation after an accident with an absent or uninsured driver is still very possible.
Once you hire a personal injury attorney, they can advise you on how to manage your case. They may:
- Tell you what to say (and what not to say) to insurance adjusters
- Collect evidence from as many sources as possible to build your case file
- Contact other involved parties (such as the insurer or the judge) on your behalf
- Fight hard to get you the settlement you need and deserve, whether from your own uninsured motorist (UM) insurance policy or the at-fault driver’s policy
Being involved in a hit-and-run is very frightening, and the aftermath can be confusing and overwhelming. You do not have to face this situation alone. A motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you figure out what to do after a hit and run in South Carolina as you try to rebuild your life.
After a South Carolina Hit and Run, Call Us
When you contact our firm, we will provide you with a free, confidential case review right away. Schiller & Hamilton can tell you what you should do after a hit-and-run in South Carolina. We have spent twenty-five years helping people just like you recover justice and compensation after preventable accidents.