South Carolina law requires that all parties involved in a car accident stop and notify law enforcement. Failing to stop at the car accident scene can result in criminal charges. The most common reason why drivers do not stop at the accident scene is that they have no insurance.
South Carolina law requires all drivers to carry $25,000 in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in property damage. If you sustained injuries and/or suffered property damage in a hit-and-run accident, it can benefit you to get legal help.
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The Specific Hit-and-Run Laws in South Carolina
In all cases where a vehicle strikes a person or property, the liable party is legally required to stop and notify the police. The state requires that motorists who strike a fixture on the highway notify the owner.
Motorists are also required to stop if they hit a vehicle with no one inside. South Carolina Code § 56-5-1240 requires that motorists inform the owner if they have struck their unattended vehicle. If the motorist cannot find the car’s owner, he or she should leave a note on the vehicle with their contact information.
South Carolina Code § 56-5-1220 requires that a motorist stop if they hit an attended vehicle. The motorist can leave to report the accident to law enforcement, though. The motorist is also required to stop if they hit a pedestrian.
Penalties for Breaking Hit-and-Run Laws in South Carolina
The penalties imposed on the liable party in a hit-and-run accident will depend on:
- The severity of injuries sustained
- The cost of property damage
- Previous history of hit-and-run accidents
- If the injured party succumbs to their injuries
- The cause of the accident, such as drunk driving
The penalty for a liable party who causes injury in a hit-and-run accident will likely face misdemeanor charges. The court may sentence the liable party to jail for a period ranging from 30 days to 12 months. The court may also impose a fine between $100-5,000 on the liable party.
A hit-and-run accident resulting in catastrophic injuries may face a penalty of 30 days to 10 years in jail. The liable party may receive a fine of $5,000-$10,000. If a hit-and-run accident causes death, the liable party might face between 1 year and 35 years in jail. The court may also fine the liable party between $10,000-$20,000.
Steps You Should Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
A hit-and-run accident can leave you feeling confused and angry at the liable party. But here are a few things you should do if the responsible party flees the scene:
- Seek medical attention
- Try to get the plates of the vehicle
- Connect with a law firm
- Try to get the contact details of any witnesses
- Report the accident to law enforcement
- Do not chase the party fleeing the accident scene
The important thing to remember is that you may still get compensated if the liable party flees the accident scene. The steps above will help prove that the injuries sustained or damages suffered were attributable to the accident.
Seeking medical attention should be your first action as you may have injuries you are unaware of. Connecting with a lawyer is essential in making a personal injury claim after a hit-and-run accident. They will conduct further investigation into the case. The network and connections of a lawyer may help find the liable party.
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Insurance Coverage for a Hit-and-Run Accident
In some cases, the liable party in a hit-and-run accident gets arrested. If this happens, you can file an injury claim with the liable party’s insurer. The latter should compensate you for injuries and other damages.
But if the liable party is not apprehended, your own insurer may meet the expenses incurred. The insurance policy you have will determine the damages you can recover if any. If you have collision coverage, this can cover all repairs needed if the liable party is not located.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it can compensate you if the liable party is uninsured. You may also have the option to file a lawsuit against the liable party if they are uninsured.
Legal Assistance After a Hit and Run in South Carolina
If another driver strikes your vehicle and flees the scene, you are not out of options for compensation. Our firm understands that hit-and-run accidents can be confusing and scary. If you hire a lawyer, they can manage your case while you focus on your wellbeing. We will help you get the settlement you deserve one way or another.
If you have fled an accident scene, a lawyer may be able to defend you in court. We know the hit and run laws in South Carolina and may be able to help you avoid prison or heavy fines. Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers today at (843) 779-1777 for a free consultation.