Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious matter. Not only can you face criminal charges, but it can impact your civil liability and even your driver’s license. No matter what has happened, it’s never a good idea to flee the scene of a car accident.
What can happen if you leave the scene of a car accident?
In South Carolina, if you leave the scene of a car accident, the following may happen:
1. Criminal charges
Whether the car accident causes injuries, property damage or both, you must stop your vehicle and remain at the scene of the accident. A driver who chooses to leave the scene can face criminal charges. The severity of the charges depends on how serious the accident is:
- Property damage only – Misdemeanor; up to 1 year in jail and a $100-$5,000 fine
- Injury or death – Misdemeanor; 30 days-1 year in jail and a $1,000-$5,000 fine
- Great bodily injury – Felony; 30 days-10 years incarceration and a $5,000-$10,000 fine
- Death – Felony; 1 year-25 years incarceration and a $10,000-$25,000 fine
The courts take hit and run charges seriously. If you’re convicted of leaving the scene, you can expect significant consequences.
2. License suspension or points
Leaving the scene can cost you your driver’s license. In South Carolina, fleeing from a property-damage accident gives you six points on your driving record. Accumulate 12 or more points and you lose your license. You can’t drive again until you wait out your suspension period and apply for reinstatement. If the car accident results in injury or death, there’s an automatic suspension of your license.
3. It is evidence of fault
If you choose to leave the scene of an accident, people may wonder what you have to hide. Your actions can be used against you. Expect the other side to say that your actions are a sign of a guilty conscience.
4. You lose your opportunity to gather evidence
Insurance payments and compensation for an accident are based on fault. It’s up to you to gather evidence of what happened to cause the accident. If you leave the scene, you lose the opportunity to take photographs, gather witness information and do other things that are vital to your case.
The other side is going to gather the evidence that benefits them. Leaving the scene means leaving the evidence behind.
5. Damages may be greater
If someone gets hurt in the accident, your failure to stay and summon aid can lead to additional damages. A victim may have more severe injuries and suffering because you left and it delayed their medical attention. If this is the case, you can expect to pay for these additional damages in addition to paying compensation for any role you had in the accident. The amount you pay may increase significantly.
Personal Injury Attorneys for Leaving the Scene Victims
Are you the victim of someone who left the scene of an accident? You may deserve compensation for your damages. We are experienced personal injury attorneys. Contact Upstate Personal Injury Lawyers, LLC for your consultation.