A hit and run accident is a stressful, but, unfortunately, not uncommon occurrence in cities across South Carolina. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, dealing with injuries, property damage, insurance problems, or legal issues after a hit and run can feel overwhelming.
Understanding and taking the appropriate steps can help you receive the compensation you deserve after a hit and run accident. From reporting the incident and getting medical care to seeking legal guidance from an auto accident attorney, knowing what to do can help you effectively handle the situation and protect your rights.
What to Do if You’re Involved in a Hit and Run
In 2020, Charleston held the 12th spot of cities with the most car accidents in the U.S. Some of the city’s car accidents involve hit and runs, which occur when you’re in a collision with another vehicle whose driver flees the scene.
This can be a nerve-wracking experience and leave you without the information needed to file a claim with their liability insurance. When faced with this situation, the following actions can safeguard your interests and protect your safety:
- Prioritize safety: If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location, like a parking lot or shoulder, and turn on your hazard lights to prevent a secondary accident.
Ensure that you and your passengers are safe. If someone is injured, call 911 immediately to report the crash and to get them medical attention.
- Call the police: Always report a hit and run to the local police department. Even if damages seem minor, an official report can be invaluable later.
Provide a thorough account of the incident, including the sequence of events, descriptions of the fleeing vehicle (make, model, color, license plate number), and any potential witnesses.
- Document everything: Take photos of the accident scene, including your injuries, damage to your vehicle, road debris or skid marks, traffic signs or lights, and weather conditions. Jot down the exact time and place of the accident.
If there were any witnesses, gather their names, phone numbers, and accounts of what they saw.
- File a hit and run report: South Carolina law requires you to report any accident, including a hit and run, to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days if the damage exceeds $1,000. Fill out Form FR-309 and submit it. You can use this police report to support your insurance claims for the hit and run.
- Receive medical attention: Even if you feel fine, get medical attention as soon as possible after the collision. Some injuries, such as whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, or even internal bleeding, may not show immediate symptoms, and a medical record is essential for insurance claims.
- Notify your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident.
All drivers should be aware of their insurance policy’s details, especially regarding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which might apply in a hit and run scenario.
- Consult a local South Carolina attorney: Consult a personal injury attorney experienced in hit and run cases. Our firm has five offices across South Carolina to best serve you, a local auto accident attorney at Joye Law Firm will review your case and help you determine your options for compensation.
Who Pays Your Compensation in a Hit and Run?
South Carolina is an at-fault state. This means that if you’re involved in a collision with another vehicle, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver for your losses. When a driver is unidentified in a hit and run accident, you don’t have the information to file with their insurer. So, who pays for your damages?
South Carolina requires all drivers to purchase uninsured motorists’ insurance (UM) as part of their coverage. This insurance provides financial protection in accidents involving uninsured drivers or those leaving the scene without providing their liability insurance information.
State minimums for UM are $25,000 (bodily injury to one person), $50,000 (per accident), and $25,000 (for property damage). This means your UM policy will pay up to your coverage limits for losses in a hit and run.
Unfortunately, South Carolina does not require that drivers carry underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, however, this coverage is equally important as it can help cover damages not covered by your UM policy. This coverage can also be activated if the at-fault driver is located and their policy limits do not cover all of your damages.
In some cases, you can work with your attorney to locate the at-fault driver and file with their liability insurance. A skilled auto accident attorney can review evidence, such as witness statements, surveillance footage, police investigations, and physical evidence from the accident scene, to help identify the fleeing driver.
Navigating the Aftermath of a Hit and Run in South Carolina
Being involved in a hit and run crash can leave you with serious injuries and thousands of dollars in medical bills, property damages, and lost wages.
Our South Carolina car accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm understand how challenging the aftermath of a hit and run collision can be. We will use our knowledge of the state’s auto insurance laws and investigation skills to help you get a fair settlement from your UM/UIM policy or identify the liable driver to file a claim on their insurance.
Contact our experienced lawyers today to discuss your case during a free consultation to learn your legal options.