Pursuing the compensation you need after a hit-and-run accident in Florence, South Carolina, can be challenging. If the police cannot find the driver who hit you, you may need to explore other options for covering your medical bills and other crash-related expenses. Navigating the legal system can be difficult, and you should not have to do so alone while healing from your injuries.
At Jebaily Law Firm, we help injured clients rebuild their lives after devastating accidents. Our dedicated lawyers can help you seek the financial relief you deserve after a hit-and-run crash in South Carolina. We have represented people in Florence, SC, for more than 50 years and understand how stressful the aftermath of an accident can be. Let us handle your case so you can focus on your health and your future.
Contact our hit-and-run accident lawyers in Florence, SC, today for a free case review.
What Qualifies as a Hit-and-Run in SC?
A hit-and-run crash occurs when a driver involved in a collision flees the scene without stopping and providing their contact information to others involved in the crash. These accidents typically involve two or more moving vehicles, but sometimes a driver will flee after hitting a parked car or other property. Some of the most tragic hit-and-run crashes involve a vehicle striking a pedestrian or a bicyclist.
South Carolina traffic laws say any driver involved in a crash must stop as close as possible to the accident. The driver must see if anyone needs medical attention and exchange information with those involved in the accident. A driver who flees without following these steps has broken the law and can face stiff penalties if caught.
Hit-and-Run Laws in SC
Several South Carolina traffic laws apply to hit-and-run crashes. These laws fall under the state’s Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways. Critically, the law says any driver involved in a collision resulting in injury, death, or damage to property must stop as close to the scene as possible without blocking traffic. Drivers should remain at the scene until police arrive and should not leave until the police are done with their investigation. However, a driver may leave the scene briefly to report the accident to authorities.
Drivers involved in accidents must provide each other with contact information before they can leave the scene. Specifically, drivers must exchange their names, addresses, and vehicle registration numbers. Drivers must also show their license if another driver or the authorities ask. Drivers involved in a crash must assess whether anyone needs medical attention and alert the authorities if necessary.
The same rules generally apply to hit-and-run accidents involving unattended vehicles. If a driver hits an unoccupied car, they must stop immediately and look for its owner. If they find the owner, the driver must give them their name and address. A driver who hits an unattended vehicle and cannot find the owner must leave a note on the vehicle in a conspicuous spot. The message should contain the offending driver’s name, address, and a brief statement of what happened.
Depending on the accident, fleeing the scene can be a misdemeanor or a felony. If a driver flees the scene after hitting an unattended car or only causing property damage to an attended vehicle, they have committed a misdemeanor. The potential penalties for a misdemeanor hit-and-run include up to one year in prison and $5,000 in fines. Fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run with minor injuries is also a misdemeanor.
A driver who flees the scene of a crash involving severe injuries or death commits a felony. The penalties for a hit-and-run with severe injuries include up to 10 years in prison, while drivers can receive 25 years for a fatal hit-and-run.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Hit-and-Run in SC?
The law requires drivers to report any accident involving injuries or death to the authorities “immediately.” However, the police will likely cut a driver some slack if they suffer severe injuries and need emergency treatment. Once a driver is out of immediate danger, they should notify the police to avoid legal trouble. If a driver cannot report the accident to authorities, they should ask a friend or family member to do it.
Common Causes of Hit-and-Run Accidents
Among the potential reasons why a driver might flee the scene of a crash are the following:
- Intoxication – Drunk drivers or drivers who have used drugs may worry they will be charged with DUI if they stay at a crash scene. They may flee the scene to avoid the potential penalties of a DUI charge.
- Lack of auto insurance – Drivers without auto insurance may flee the scene because they cannot cover the costs of an accident victim’s medical expenses or property damage.
- Outstanding warrants or previous tickets – Drivers with unpaid parking tickets or warrants for their arrest often leave crash scenes to avoid further penalties.
- Legal problems – Drivers with warrants may flee to avoid arrest.
- Panic – A driver may leave the scene of a crash if their adrenaline spikes and they panic. However, fleeing for any reason is still breaking the law. It’s best for a driver who flees because of panic to return to the scene.
Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover Hit-and-Runs in South Carolina?
All drivers in South Carolina must carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, which applies to hit-and-run accidents. A driver injured in a hit-and-run crash should turn to their insurance provider to cover the costs of medical expenses and property damage. The South Carolina Department of Insurance says all auto policies must include uninsured motorist coverage equal to the minimum liability coverage required in the state.
Why You Need Our Lawyers to Help with Your Hit-and-Run Crash Case
Dealing with insurance companies after a hit-and-run accident can be a hassle, especially if you are injured. The lawyers at Jebaily Law Firm can navigate the legal system for you and handle every detail of your case.
If the police locate the other driver, we can pursue compensation and hold them accountable. If the other driver cannot be found, we can prepare and file an uninsured motorist claim on your behalf. Our team is also ready to negotiate aggressively with the insurance company should it dispute your claim.
Contact a Florence Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a hit-and-run crash, a Florence car accident lawyer with Jebaily Law Firm can help you pursue the total compensation you need. Contact us today for a free consultation.