May is National Bike Month, an initiative sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists to promote bike riding and, more to the point, safety while bike riding. In our state, the months of May through November are the months in which there are increased numbers of traffic collisions involving pedalists....KEEP READING
Section 56-5-1210 of South Carolina’s Code of Laws imposes a requirement that drivers involved in a crash must stop at the scene of the accident or stop as close to it as possible. The failure to stop after an accident could result in a felony or a misdemeanor charge, depending upon whether or not there were people injured or killed in the crash.
Despite laws that are intended to make sure drivers don’t cause a crash and then drive away, hit and run accidents happen frequently in South Carolina. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that around 10 percent of all car accidents in the U.S. involve a hit and run driver. NHTSA data indicate that pedestrians may be the most likely victims of a hit and run accident, with as many as one in five pedestrian fatalities occurring in such a crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a hit and run motorist in South Carolina, you may be afraid that you’re going to be left to bear the entire burden of the accident costs on your own. Before accepting this as a reality, however, you should speak with an experienced South Carolina hit and run accident lawyer who may be able to help you.
Hit and run accidents can happen for many reasons, including the unwillingness of a driver who causes a crash to take responsibility for his or her actions. However, there are certain situations where a driver is more likely to leave the scene of an accident. These situations include:
No matter the reason, if someone hit you and didn’t stop, they likely have broken South Carolina laws. By following some basic steps after a hit and run accident, you may be able to avoid getting stuck with the financial burden of this type of accident.
If you are the victim of a hit and run crash, it is important to contact law enforcement right away so they can begin the process of investigating the crash. If there were any witnesses to the accident, you should get their names and contact information and find out if they saw what happened or got any information about the driver who caused the crash. If you can obtain the license plate number of the person who caused the crash, or at least a detailed description of that person and the vehicle, this can go a long way toward helping the police find the hit and run driver.
You’ll also want to start exploring your options for recovering compensation. The best case scenario would be if law enforcement could find the driver who hit you. Even if this occurs, however, there is no guarantee that the driver would actually be able to pay your bills. In many cases, the person who hit and ran does not have any insurance or assets. This means that even if the person is found and held responsible, you still might not be able to recover any compensation because there might be no money to compensate you.
Because of the problems with trying to hold the other driver responsible after a hit and run, a better solution might involve making a claim with your own insurer.
In South Carolina, drivers must purchase uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as a part of their auto policy. Uninsured motorist coverage can pay out if you are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who lacks insurance.
If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, your uninsured motorist coverage could come into play even if you do not know who hit you. This means you could receive compensation from your own insurer, who stands in to pay the damages that the hit-and-run driver should have covered. The damages available are based on the losses you suffered, and it is possible to collect compensation up to the limits of your policy depending upon how seriously you were hurt and the extent of the losses you endured.
While uninsured motorist coverage is supposed to make sure you get the full compensation that you deserve, insurance companies often fail to do what they are supposed to do. Your insurance company might try to lowball you or get you to agree to a settlement that doesn’t quite cover the damages you suffered or provide you with the full compensation you deserve. You should never believe the insurance company is on your side and you should never trust the insurer to do what is best for you.
Instead, contact a dedicated and experienced hit-and-run accident attorney at the Louthian Law Firm. Our attorneys can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and take legal action if the insurer negotiates in bad faith or denies you benefits that you deserve. We can help you to get the full compensation you are entitled to after a hit and run accident.
If the driver who hit you is found and identified, we can also help you to build a strong case against the driver.
At the Louthian Law Firm, we have recovered millions for South Carolinians injured in hit-and-run wrecks and other auto accidents caused by someone else’s irresponsibility. We are committed to providing personalized service to our clients while aggressively pursuing their cases.
For a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case, call the Louthian Law Firm today toll free at 888-662-9821 or locally in Columbia at 803-454-1200. You can also fill out our confidential contact form online.