Being involved in a hit and run accident makes an already traumatic event even more difficult to manage. On top of everything you have to do following an accident, you are also faced with finding the person at fault.
If you have been involved in a hit and run car accident in Greenville, South Carolina, you can put your trust in Upstate Personal Injury Lawyers. This firm has the knowledge and experience to navigate these problematic incidents. We will work tirelessly to ensure you receive fair compensation even under these trying circumstances.
Why Would a Driver Run From The Scene of an Accident?
To most people, leaving the scene of an accident seems unfathomable, but drivers flee more often than you would expect. Some possible scenarios include the following:
- Uninsured motorist: An uninsured driver might take off to avoid being held accountable for compensating the victim.
- Driving under the influence: In many cases, a hit and run driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Fleeing the scene buys the offender time to avoid a DUI charge or worse, depending on the extent of the accident and injuries involved.
- Drug possession: It is also possible that a driver has illegal substances in their possession during the time of the incident.
- Outstanding warrants or suspended license: A hit and run driver may also be avoiding contact with the authorities due to outstanding warrants, or they may not want to be caught driving on a suspended or otherwise restricted license.
Penalties for Hit and Run in South Carolina
The punishment for leaving the scene of the accident may be less than what the offending driver might have faced if they were caught under the influence or in possession of illegal substances.
Hit and run drivers can face as few as 30 days in jail and fines as low as $100. However, penalties climb with increasing severity of injuries and property damage. In the most serious accidents, offenders can be sentenced to up to 35 years and fined $25,000.
What You Need to Do If You Have Been In a Hit and Run Accident
Notify authorities and seek medical attention
Even if the accident is minor, always notify the authorities as soon as you realize you have been the victim of a hit and run. Their presence at the scene and the documentation they will provide will be significant as you move forward from the accident to working with your insurance.
Also, be sure to seek medical attention right away. The rush of adrenaline you experience in an accident can easily mask underlying injuries, and even if you feel fine, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible. A physical examination may reveal injuries even when you think nothing is wrong.
The importance of documenting the details following your incident cannot be overstated. Immediately following your hit and run accident, write down everything you can remember. Provide any details on the hit and run driver, vehicle, direction of travel, and license plate details if at all possible.
Try to gather witness contact information if you can and take as many pictures as necessary to document your property damage and the scene of the incident. When it comes time to seek compensation, the burden will be on you to prove what happened and what damage occurred.
Hire a lawyer you can trust
Hit and run accidents are tricky to navigate. You deserve compensation for your property damage and any injuries you suffered, but claims in these situations are not straightforward. You will want an experienced car accident attorney fighting for you during this process.
Whose Insurance Pays for Hit and Run Damages?
Your insurance claim will depend greatly on whether or not the offender is caught. If the person that hit you is never found and brought to justice, you will likely be working with your own insurance for your compensation. South Carolina requires auto insurance policies to include coverage for uninsured motorists, and this is used to cover hit and run damage when the offending driver is not identified.
You would also be making a claim against this uninsured motorist coverage in the case that the hit and run driver happens to be found but is not insured. Depending on the severity of your accident, your injuries, and the extent of financial hardship you ultimately experience due to the accident, this coverage may not be enough to compensate you fully.
Even if you are lucky enough to track down the offender and they happen to be insured, the fight is probably not over yet. You will need to rely on experienced legal counsel, your detailed documentation, and likely your patience to receive total and fair compensation from the offender’s insurance for your losses and suffering.
We Can Help You Obtain Compensation
Upstate Personal Injury Lawyers is an experienced and trusted firm in Greenville, South Carolina. We commit to fully understanding your unique situation and determining the best path to your financial recovery. If you have been in a hit and run car accident and don’t know where to turn, please contact us today, and we will start work immediately on your case.
Hit and Run Case FAQs
How long do I have to file a car accident claim in South Carolina?
You have up to 3 years, but it is best to file a claim as soon as possible following your incident.
What is the standard amount of coverage provided by uninsured motorist coverage in South Carolina?
The minimum coverage required is $25,000 for bodily injury for each person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident. Also, coverage will include $25,000 in property damage for each accident.