Being involved in a car accident can leave you injured and frustrated. The pain and frustration are only compounded in a hit and run accident. If you are unable to identify the driver that hit your vehicle and fled the scene, you may feel helpless wondering how you will pay for your medical bills and other losses – costs that normally would be paid by the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
After a hit and run accident in South Carolina, you can take some comfort in the fact that you likely have uninsured motorists’ insurance on your car insurance policy. This coverage pays if you are injured or your property is damaged by a hit and run driver or an uninsured driver. South Carolina law requires car owners to carry uninsured motorists’ coverage equal to the minimum amount of liability coverage (25/50/25). There is typically a $200+ deductible.
People who have suffered significant injuries can easily overlook their uninsured motorists- (UM) coverage in the aftermath of a hit and run accident. Your insurance company should explain your UM benefits when you report the accident. Unfortunately, some carriers are less helpful than others, and claims are not always processed as promptly as they should be.
People in Berkeley County, Dorchester County, and throughout the Summerville area of South Carolina, can rely on the Summerville hit and run accident lawyer at Joye Law Firm. From our office on Main Street in Summerville, we can handle your insurance claim while you solely focus on your recovery from your hit and run accident. We will investigate the accident and your losses to substantiate your claim. We’ll also work hard to find the hit and run driver. If the at-fault driver can be identified, we will vigorously pursue compensation through the at-fault driver’s liability insurance and/or other assets. If the driver cannot be identified, we’ll help file a claim against your UM policy for coverage.
We have helped many injured people in Summerville and across South Carolina rebuild their lives after serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Summerville hit and run accident, we can help you understand your rights and options in a free legal consultation. Call us today at 888-324-3100 or contact us online to discuss your case with an experienced Summerville personal injury lawyer.
What Is a Hit and Run Car Accident?
A hit and run accident occurs when a motor vehicle operator collides with another vehicle, a person on foot, a bicyclist, or someone’s personal property and fails to stop.
Various South Carolina statutes pertaining to motor vehicle accidents require a driver to stop after being in a car accident and give the other driver their name, address, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license number. In cases of injury, they must also render aid or call for assistance.
Even if a driver hits an unattended vehicle, they are to stop. If a person hits a parked vehicle and cannot locate the vehicle’s owner, the driver is required to leave a note with their name and address on the damaged vehicle so they can be contacted.
Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents in South Carolina
A person who is identified after failing to stop after a motor vehicle accident can be arrested and charged.
If caught and convicted, a hit and run driver could face:
- 30 days to 1 year in prison or a fine of $100 to $5,000, or both, for a hit and run accident that caused damage to another vehicle or one that caused injury, but not great bodily harm.
- 30 days to 10 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $10,000 if a hit and run accident caused great bodily injury. South Carolina law defines great bodily injury as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function.
- 1 year to 25 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 to $25,000 if a hit and run accident causes death.
South Carolina personal injury law allows the victim of a car accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver (if the driver can be identified) to demand compensation for their losses, including their pain and suffering.
South Carolina drivers also are required by law to exercise caution to avoid hitting pedestrians or bicyclists. Drivers must stop after an accident that causes an injury or death. If a driver breaches their legal duty and a pedestrian or bicyclist is injured as a result, the injured party may file a personal injury lawsuit.
What Should I Do After a Hit and Run Accident in Summerville?
If you are able to after a hit and run accident, you should immediately record as much information about the other vehicle as you can, such as:
- Make and model
- License plate number
- Distinguishing details, such as dented fender
- Details about the driver
- The direction the vehicle was traveling as it left the accident scene
- Get medical care. If you have been injured, you or someone else should call 911. If you do not require emergency medical care, you should still see a doctor for an examination within 24 hours of the accident. There are several potentially fatal injuries – including traumatic brain injury – that may not cause intense symptoms right away but can be diagnosed and treated if seen by a doctor.
- Make a police report. The sooner you report the hit and run, the better the chances the driver can be found. Having a police report will also be important for dealing with your insurance company.
- Talk to witnesses. If anyone else saw the accident, ask them to let you record their contact information and a statement.
- Contact your insurance company. You should report a car accident to your insurance company within 24 hours so they can begin their own investigation. If you wait too long to file a claim, your insurance company may deny your claim.
- Contact an experienced South Carolina hit and run accident attorney. In addition to conducting an independent investigation of the accident, a Summerville car accident attorney from Joye Law Firm can negotiate with your insurance company and other parties, such as the hospital that treated you, to help lower your bills and resolve your claim.
How Can Joye Law Firm Recover Compensation After a Hit and Run Accident?
As your attorneys, we can make sure your hit and run claim is filed correctly under your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and contains all required information. We will investigate the circumstances of the accident and the extent of your injuries so we are ready to push back if the insurer balks at making a full and fair payment to you.
If the hit and run driver who injured you can be identified, we will file a claim against his or her insurance. If the insurer is not cooperative, we can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf and ask a South Carolina court to order payment to you.
You can rest assured knowing we’ll seek maximum compensation for your losses, which may include payment for:
- Medical bills, including past, ongoing, or projected costs of medical care needed to treat your accident-related injuries.
- Lost wages, to compensate you for the time you missed from work while you recovered from your accident-related injuries.
- Lost income, if your injuries have caused a long-term or permanent disability that decreases your earning capability.
- Personal property losses, which are the costs to repair or replace your motor vehicle, bicycle, or other property damaged or lost in the accident.
- Incidental costs, such as out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result of the accident, like the costs of renting a car or taking public transportation or for home help while you recovered from your injuries.
- Pain and suffering including compensation for physical pain, psychological or emotional anguish, discomfort, and diminished enjoyment of life you have experienced because of your injuries.
We can help make sure you get the medical care you need to fully recover from your injuries. This includes getting you to the proper doctors, specialists, and therapists. We will notify your healthcare providers and other creditors so that they know you are a client and that we are working to recover a proper insurance settlement. We can also help get your car repaired or line up a rental vehicle.
Your attorney will tend to the insurance claim and related details so that you can concentrate on getting better. Having the Joye Law Firm on your side means you’re not alone. We can take the burdens of this bad situation off of you.
Contact a Summerville Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
At the Joye Law Firm, we understand the fears that surround being injured by a hit and run driver. We also know your rights as a car accident victim, and how to secure the compensation you are due. When you hire us, you get the experienced legal guidance and strong advocacy you need to get you through the aftermath of a hit and run accident.
Contact Joye Law Firm in Summerville, S.C., at 888-324-3100 or online for a free legal consultation. Our firm has a 50+-year track record of success. We will not charge you a fee unless we recover compensation for you. Please contact us for help today.