Your vehicle got into a crash with another’s. They drove away.
If you’re involved in such an event, there’s no need to panic. Instead, use this guide as a resource to help you understand how the process works and what steps should be taken when hit by a driver who flees the scene.
What Is a Hit and Run?
Hit-and-run incidents are criminal offenses, not just an accident. It’s different from a car accident in that it implies intentionality on the driver’s part to leave the scene of an incident or cause damage without making amends for their actions.
In South Carolina, a hit and run is a misdemeanor if there is no injury or death to any person and a felony if anyone suffers death or injury. Conviction of a hit and run will result in a license suspension by the DMV.
You may choose to settle during pretrial; however, you have only 15 days after the date of arrest to file a written report at the DMV if you wish to prevent suspension of your driving privileges for failing to report an accident within 24 hours.
Penalties for A Hit and Run In South Carolina
In South Carolina, the court can punish hit-and-run accident offenders with a $100 to $5,000 fine and up to 30 days in jail. If the crash causes serious injury to someone, the driver at fault will face a maximum fine of $5,000–$10,000 and 30 days to 12 months in prison.
If the crash results in death, the driver at fault could spend between 1 year and 35 years behind bars and pay a fine between $10,000–$20,000.
How Much Can You Sue for a Hit and Run?
Whether you are in a car accident or hit by a truck, the defendant is generally liable for any damages caused to the plaintiff. However, there can be exceptions if the driver did not know who was at fault or could contact them.
In such cases, it may be necessary for the victim to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit against the defendant so that they will be held accountable for their actions.
The amount of compensation depends on several factors:
- How badly injured you are.
- The number of medical expenses incurred
- Whether there was any property damage (such as broken windows).
- Whether your injuries require ongoing care.
In South Carolina, minimum compensation ranges from $10,000–$25,000 depending on the severity of injuries sustained during an accident caused by another person’s negligence.
Where Does Compensation Come From?
While the parties involved in a hit-and-run accident are not always easy to identify, it is possible to recover compensation for injuries in several ways.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will be held responsible for paying any damages resulting from an accident caused by their insured driver who was at fault.
Additionally, if you are injured as a pedestrian, cyclist, or passenger in someone else’s car, your insurance policy will cover any medical bills relating to your injuries.
Suppose you were driving at the time of your accident. In that case, either your auto liability limits or those provided by an employer’s workers’ compensation policy might apply toward payment of any damages.
Claims Against the Driver That Hits You
If you can identify the driver who hit you, you are entitled to sue them in court. You can sue for money to cover your medical bills and pain and suffering.
In most states, if a driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance, their insurer will pay for the damages caused by that driver. If you can identify the driver who hit you but cannot find their insurance company details, an experienced attorney can help locate this information.
What Option Do You Have If Police Can’t Find the Driver At Fault?
Unfortunately, failing to locate the hit-and-run driver will prevent you from seeking a payout against the at-fault motorist. However, there are other options you can pursue.
You could file a claim against your insurance company if they were at fault for your accident (for example, if their driver was uninsured). If successful, this type of claim would pay for damages up to policy limits of liability coverage on your car or truck.
You also may be able to file an uninsured motorist insurance claim with your insurance company if you were injured in an accident caused by someone who failed to carry any insurance (including liability). However, this option isn’t always available in every state and requires that you meet certain conditions before it’s applicable.
Claims Against Your Insurance Company for a Hit and Run
If you are a hit-and-run victim, you may be able to file a claim with your own auto insurance company. This is because the other driver’s insurance company will not pay out any money unless they are legally required to do so.
They will only compensate you if a judge orders them to pay up or their client admits liability for causing an accident and pays in full before trial proceedings begin.
However, this does not mean you should wait until after trial proceedings have ended for payment from the other driver’s insurer. It can take time for these cases to go through court, and there is no guarantee that your case will survive until then (especially if there was only minimal evidence at the scene).
Therefore it would be prudent on behalf of any victim who wants compensation after being injured by another party’s negligence during an accident to either file against their auto insurance provider or make claims against those responsible through lawsuits.
Get the Help You Need Today
Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself after a hit and run. The personal injury lawyers at Elrod Pope Law Firm are experienced in handling hit-and-run accident claims. We will help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, lost wages, and other damages.
If you’ve been hurt in one of these accidents and need help, contact us today to discuss how we can resolve your case. We’re here for you 24/7, so don’t hesitate to contact our firm today.
Hit and Run Compensation FAQs
Will an uninsured motorist claim cover a hit-and-run accident?
Uninsured motorist coverage will protect you if you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance. It is important to note that uninsured motorist coverage will not cover hit-and-run accidents, as the other party is technically not insured.
Are there any other options for victims of hit-and-run accidents?
When you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, there are several options for compensation. If you have medical bills that exceed your insurance deductible and the other driver was at fault, you may be able to sue them.