What to Do After a Hit and Run
Most of us grew up learning that we must take responsibility for our actions. Some, however, do not understand this concept. These are the people who normally flee from a car wreck after putting innocent lives at risk.
If you were injured in a car accident by a hit-and-run driver in South Carolina, it is important that you take certain steps to ensure you are not stranded paying out of pocket for your medical bills and car repairs.
Report the wreck to the proper authorities
Take pictures of the property damage
If you can identify the other vehicle or plate, make a note of it
If there are witnesses, get their names and contact information (police officers sometimes fail to obtain this information)
Notify your insurance company of the incident and unknown driver
Get proper medical treatment
South Carolina Unknown Driver Laws
In South Carolina, if an unknown driver causes a wreck with you, section 38-77-170 of the South Carolina Code has certain requirements you must fulfill:
If the driver did not make contact with you: timely report the wreck; get an affidavit from a witness regarding the wreck; and you must not have been negligent in failing to determine the at-fault driver's identity.
If the driver made contact with your vehicle: timely report the wreck; there must be proof of the damage; and you must not have been negligent in failing to determine the at-fault driver's identity.
These requirements are not difficult, but compliance with these laws is crucial.
Recovering Money After a Hit and Run Car Accident
In South Carolina, an unknown diver is considered an uninsured driver. For this reason, if another motorist causes a wreck with you and flees, you will go through your automobile insurance company's "uninsured motorist" (UM) coverage. This is true whether you were hit by a drunk driver in Orangeburg, a tractor trailer in Greenville, or a work van in Columbia. Additionally, in South Carolina, injuring someone in a car wreck and then fleeing (without seeing if the victim is okay) shows a complete disregard for the wellbeing of the person injured. This may lead to a showing of the at-fault driver's recklessness, which opens the door to punitive damages. Read here to learn more about how punitive damages may increase the recovery you obtain in a wreck case.
Most clients ask how it's fair that their own insurance company has to pay for damage caused by another driver. The best answer is that you pay premiums every year in case this very situation arises. The situation is now here; it's only fair that you recover from some source for your property damage and bodily injuries.
If an uninsured driver hit you (including a hit-and-run motorist) and you need help or guidance, Andrew is available by email and phone. Please reach out today to ensure all steps are taken to comply with South Carolina laws.