If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident in South Carolina, you could qualify for compensation for damages. Compensation for hit-and-run victims can cover the expenses of both physical injuries and property damage.
However, filing a hit-and-run claim can be a little more complicated than other vehicle accidents, especially if the identity of the driver is unknown. That is why you should hire a Florence, SC, car accident lawyer to represent you and help you build a case.
Can You File a Hit-and-Run Claim in South Carolina?
A hit-and-run case is when a driver causes an accident and intentionally leaves the accident scene. This can apply whether you were another driver they hit, a cyclist or a pedestrian.
If the perpetrator is unknown, there is still a chance of you getting compensation for damages through a few different ways. The most obvious option would be to hold the at-fault driver’s insurance company responsible.
If the identity of the driver is unknown, your insurance policy may also help to cover your medical bills if you were a pedestrian, cyclist, or you were in somebody else’s vehicle. If you were driving a vehicle that was involved in the accident, your auto insurance or employer’s workers’ compensation may help you to cover the resulting damages.
What to do After Being a Victim of a Hit-and-Run
Getting into a hit-and-run accident is very overwhelming. Before worrying about filing a claim and getting compensation, you need to focus on the first steps to take after the accident.
Check for injuries
After getting into a hit-and-run accident, the first thing you need to do is check yourself and anyone else for injuries. If you are driving a vehicle with a passenger, make sure you are not seriously injured, then check the other people in the vehicle. If you were biking or walking, you are most likely the only person involved but there may have been other people around the accident.
After assessing everyone for injuries, make sure you are out of the way of oncoming traffic. If your vehicle was struck and it is not safe to drive, leave it and get to a sidewalk where you won’t be in the way of other vehicles. If the accident involves cyclists or pedestrians, they need to be in clear view of passing vehicles to avoid being struck again.
Call the police
The next step you need to take is calling 911 to report that there has been a hit-and-run accident. In a lot of cases, someone has probably already done this after seeing the accident, but you still want to make the call as a precautionary measure.
The 911 dispatcher will send police to the crash location and will send an ambulance if you have been injured. Even if you don’t see any visible injuries, it is still a good idea to go to the hospital to get checked out after the police arrive.
The police will likely ask you questions to gather as much evidence as possible about how the accident occurred and what you saw.
If you are waiting for the police to arrive, this is a good time to collect evidence if you aren’t injured. You can do this by taking photos of the crash scene, property damage, and any bodily injuries. It is also a good idea to see if any bystanders saw what happened so they can give the police a description of the vehicle.
Hire an attorney
After taking the initial steps for your safety after a hit-and-run accident, you need to find a personal injury attorney to represent you. Compensation for hit-and-run victims is very important, especially if you have medical bills that you now need to cover.
An attorney can help document evidence, create a case, and negotiate compensation even if the driver is not located.
How is a Hit-and-Run Case Investigated in SC?
Unlike other vehicle accidents, hit-and-run investigations are very straightforward. The person at fault is not the main part of the hit-and-run investigation since the person who leaves the scene of the crash is the most essential aspect of the case.
The police will investigate hit-and-run cases by checking for any evidence that could help them identify the other driver. Common sources for this evidence include traffic cameras, dashboard cameras, and bystanders who saw the vehicle.
If the police have evidence, they will use model/license plate matching to help them identify the other driver. This can also include any debris the vehicle left behind at the crash scene that could be used to identify it later on.
It is important to remember that not all hit-and-run cases are solved since a certain amount of evidence is needed to find the at-fault driver.
What Are the Penalties for a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If caught, SC hit-and-run laws provide certain penalties for hit-and-run offenders. The offender could be fined $100 up to $5,000 with up to 30 days of jail time. If the vehicle accident resulted in serious injury to someone, the fine can go up to $10,000 with up to 12 months in prison.
For hit-and-run accidents that result in a fatality, the fine could go up to $20,000 with the potential of a one-year to 25-year sentence behind bars.
Contact a Florence, SC, Car Accident Attorney
At McCall Law, we understand that going through a hit-and-run accident can be a very daunting process. There is a lot of uncertainty, and it is important to make sure you get compensation for damages, whether they be physical, mental, or property damage. Call McCall Law today at 843-279-8148 or message us directly on our website to schedule your free evaluation with one of our attorneys.