If you have been injured in a car accident, the other driver is required by law to stop. However, this does not always happen. More often than you might think, the at-fault driver will flee the scene and thus commit a hit and run offense. There are a variety of reasons someone may flee the scene—from driving drunk, being an underage driver or driving without a license, being unable to afford paying for damages in a wreck—the list goes on.
South Carolina Law Establishes A Duty To Give Information And Render Aid
In South Carolina, section 56-5-1230 enumerates the requirements for drivers involved in a car accident with another person. The law requires a driver involved in a car accident to stop at the scene of the accident or as close as possible. Additionally, the driver must give his or her name, address and registration number (and driver’s license if requested and available to do so). Finally, the driver must render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident. This is required regardless of who caused the actual accident. If a person fails to do so then he or she may be charged with violating one of the various hit and run laws.
The 3 Main Types Of Hit And Run Charges Where A Person Is Injured
There are a range of penalties for hit and run charges in South Carolina, depending on the circumstances of the case, including the extent of the victim’s injuries. Section 56-5-1210 provides that a person may be charged with the following:
- A misdemeanor, which carries a minimum of 30 days and maximum of one year, when injury results from a hit and run (but not great bodily injury or death);
- A felony, which carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 10 years, when great bodily injury occurs (but not death); or
- A felony, which carries a minimum of one year and a maximum of 25 years, when death results.
As you can see, the penalties for hit and run range from 30 days in jail to 25 years in prison varying on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a specific felony. The driver may also be charged with an additional crime, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving, depending on the facts. In addition, a person charged under any of these provisions could also face hefty fines and have the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revoke his or her driver’s license. The driver may also face a civil lawsuit for the damages and personal injuries of the other party.
Victims Of Hit And Run Accidents In South Carolina May Still Be Able To Recover Damages
If you have been injured during a car accident and the other driver leaves the scene, all hope of recovery is not lost. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind if you are a victim of a hit and run:
- Call the police immediately to the scene of the accident. The police will take a report, canvas the area and help collect any evidence which will help identify the other driver. For example, did the driver flee on foot and leave his or her vehicle on scene?
- Preserve. Preserve. Preserve. Take photographs, determine if there were any witnesses or cameras on scene that may help identify the driver.
- Seek medical assistance right away if you have been injured. Oftentimes, after an accident your adrenaline is pumping and you may think that you do not need medical attention. This can be detrimental to your health and a future personal injury claim if you delay seeking medical treatment and end up needing it after your adrenaline has died down.
- Call an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. Insurance companies are in the business of not giving you the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries. As long time trial attorneys at Young and Young, we have the experience to fight for the compensation you deserve.
How Can A Victim Recover Damages From A Hit And Run Accident?
By following the steps above, you are increasing the chances of locating the driver of the hit and run tremendously. By hiring an experienced personal injury firm such as Young and Young, we will immediately get to work on hiring an expert (if necessary), following up with law enforcement’s investigation and seeking other ways to help you identify the driver. Thus, increasing your ability to file a claim against the driver if identified or the at-fault’s insurer. If you have the proper coverage then our firm may be able to explore the option of having your insurer cover you in the event the at-fault driver is not located.
If you or a loved one has been injured in car accident, do not hesitate to call us today. We are available 24/7 to schedule a free consultation.