Getting into a car accident is bad enough. But when the driver hits and runs, it just adds insult to injury. Without knowing who hit you, it seems just about impossible to get compensation.
Fortunately, the right lawyer can help. Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney uses extensive experience with all kinds of personal injury law to understand the complexities of a hit and run accident case. Contact us at 843-701-8029 to start a consultation today for your hit and run accident.
What Are the Hit and Run Laws in Charleston, South Carolina?
Here are the hit and run laws that apply in the state of South Carolina:
- If a driver strikes an unattended vehicle, they must try to locate the owner. If they are unable to do so, they must leave a note on the vehicle providing their name, address, and registration information. If they flee the scene without leaving a note, it will be considered a misdemeanor.
- If the driver strikes an attended vehicle, they are required to stop at the collision scene so they can provide the other driver with their information. They may only leave the scene temporarily to report it to law enforcement. Fleeing the scene is a misdemeanor.
- Failure to stop at an accident where someone was injured or killed carries more serious consequences. If the victim was injured and the driver flees the scene, it is considered a misdemeanor. If the person was badly injured or killed and the driver flees, it’s a felony.
Hit and run drivers that flee the scene where a victim was injured may be subject to misdemeanor penalties of 30 days to 1 year in jail and fines ranging between $100 and $5000.
If the victim was badly injured, the driver could be facing a felony charge of 30 days to 10 years in jail and a fine of $5000 to $10,000. This would be the case if the injury was potentially fatal or resulted in a disability or disfigurement.
If the accident killed the victim, the driver may be facing one to 35 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 up to $25,000.
Why Do Hit and Run Accidents Happen?
There are many reasons why a person may flee the scene of an accident. Here are some of the most common:
- The vehicle is stolen, or the driver is driving it without permission
- The driver is driving in an employer-owned vehicle and does not want his boss to know about the accident
- The driver has outstanding warrants for unpaid tickets and other crimes
- The driver is in this country illegally
- The driver is transporting drugs or another kind of illegal good
- The driver does not have a license and/or insurance
- The driver is scared that they may be blamed for the accident causing their insurance to go up
- The driver does not think the damage is that bad and would rather not deal with it
How Can I Get Compensation for a Hit and Run If the Driver Wasn’t Identified?
If a hit and run driver remains unidentified, accident compensation may be possible if the victim has uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance on their policy. The amount of compensation they can get depends on the terms of the policy.
To get compensated, the victim will need to present the insurance company with evidence of the damages.
UM/UIM insurance typically kicks in after the driver’s policy is exhausted. If the driver does not have insurance or can’t be located, the UM/UIM insurance will begin kicking in immediately.
It’s typical for insurance companies to want to pay out as little as possible, even to their own customers. A Charleston hit and run lawyer will negotiate with your insurance company and see to it that you get fair compensation.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Find a Hit and Run Driver
While having UM/UIM insurance is helpful, it’s best if you can identify the hit and run driver. That way you can go after their insurance for damages and see to it that they are punished for their crime.
A lawyer can assist you in tracking down a hit and run driver by taking the following steps.
- Contacting the police: The police should be contacted as soon as possible. They will create a police report that serves as evidence in your case. If you were injured in the accident, they will treat the case as a crime.
- Locate witnesses: Witnesses may be able to provide you with information such as a description of the car or driver or the license plate number. It’s advisable to check with nearby businesses and residences to find out if they have a camera that may have caught the accident.
- Search the license plate number: If you can get the license plate number, you can do a DMV search to find the owner of the car. The owner may not have been driving at the time of the accident, but they may provide you with a lead.
- Check with the local South Carolina Department of Transportation: The Department of Transportation may have surveillance cameras set up by the city or county that recorded the accident. Your lawyer can stay on top of transportation workers and law enforcement and see to it that they review the footage they have.
Contact Our Charleston Hit and Run Lawyer Today
Getting compensation after a hit and run accident isn’t easy, but your Charleston hit and run lawyer will do everything in their power to see to it that justice is served. If you are looking for a lawyer you can count on, call Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney.
Our team has extensive experience with hit and run accident cases. We will fight to help you win your case and begin your recovery.
Hit and runs are not okay. Don’t delay, call Trey today.