While car accidents can have serious consequences, they generally follow similar procedures. Because carrying insurance in South Carolina is required by law, most accidents present the same challenges. A different set of challenges, however, is presented when your vehicle has been damaged in a hit and run accident. Last year there were 23 hit and runs in South Carolina that resulted in death, and SC highway patrol made approximately 1,200 arrests for hit and runs. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a hit and run accident, you need to understand your rights and your opportunities for recourse.
Recovering Damages without Insurance Information
South Carolina’s law allows drivers to recover damages from hit and run accidents and accidents where the injured individual does not know who the other driver was. These type of situations are governed under uninsured motorist laws. Uninsured motorist laws allows someone who was injured to recover from their own insurance when the other driver cannot be located. These claims, also known as unknown driver claims, require certain requirements to be met before an injured person can recover.
Unknown Driver Claim Requirements
In order to make a claim when either personal injury or property damage results from an unknown driver, you must show the following:
You reported the accident to police in a reasonable amount of time under the circumstances after the accident occurred. If a hit and run leaves you injured and requiring medical attention, a reasonable time would allow you to report the accident after a hospitalization. As long as you report the accident as soon as is feasible, you can meet the first requirement of this statute
The second part of the statute requires showing that a hit and run accident actually occurred. This can be done in one of two ways: either by showing physical damage to the car or by having witnesses. Physical damage can be something as small as paint flecks from the other car. However, if you go the route of using witnesses this can be more difficult, because a witness cannot be a driver or owner of the vehicle.
The third requirement is that you were not negligent in failing to determine the identity of the driver that hit you.
If you can prove the above three things, you may have a successful claim for an insurance company. However, insurance companies may not pay you the full value of your claims, so having the help of an experienced attorney can help you to get the compensation you deserve.
Trying to recover damages from a hit and run accident can be difficult. Fortunately, you do not have to go about it alone. The attorneys at Surasky Law can help you with your claim and recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.