Hit and Run Accident Lawyer in Columbia, SC
If you’ve been hit by a negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous driver, you are likely grappling with the mounting expenses in the wake of your accident. Ordinarily, at-fault drivers can be held responsible for compensating injury victims for such losses. But, what can be done if the at-fault driver flees the scene without giving an injury victim their insurance or contact information? While this situation is understandably frustrating (to put it mildly), you shouldn’t despair, as you may still be able to obtain rightful compensation for your injuries and losses. A Columbia hit-and-run accident lawyer from the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis is ready to help you pursue what you’re owed.
Our firm understands how hard insurance companies work to minimize the compensation they pay out, which is why our firm will be aggressive and relentless as we pursue any and all compensation to which you are rightfully entitled. We will also not hesitate to take your case to trial if any proposed settlement is not in your best interests. Our record of successful representation is reflected in the dozens of 5-star Google reviews we have received and the fact that we have been named one of Columbia’s best personal injury law firms.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you likely have strong legal options available to you that will allow you to pursue financial recovery for the losses you’ve incurred. Let attorney Chris Davis help you demand the maximum amount of compensation you’re owed. Reach out to the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis for a free initial case review and to see how our Columbia hit-and-run accident lawyer can help you during this unquestionably trying time.
What You Need to Know About Pursuing Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Accident
After a hit and run accident, you may have several options for obtaining compensation for expenses and losses incurred because of the accident:
From the driver, if they can be found
In some cases, police or private investigators can identify and eventually track down the driver who fled from the scene of an auto accident. If that driver is determined to have caused your crash, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation against the driver’s insurance coverage or against the driver directly.
From your insurance company
It may not always be possible to locate an at-fault driver who has run from the scene of an accident. Even if the driver can be found, it may turn out that the driver fled the scene because they did not have required auto insurance coverage. In these situations, you may have the option of turning to your own insurance company for compensation. South Carolina law requires drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage equal to the limits of the bodily injury liability coverage they have purchased. You can file an uninsured motorist claim if the driver who fled from the scene turns out to be insufficiently covered. You can also file an uninsured motorist claim if you cannot locate a hit-and-run driver, since such motorists are treated the same as uninsured motorists are for the purposes of insurance coverage. Finally, if you have purchased optional MedPay coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you can also obtain reimbursement for your medical expenses per the terms of your policy.
What Compensation Can Be Recovered for a Hit-and-Run Injury?
The purpose of filing a hit-and-run accident claim is to recover compensation for the expenses and losses that you sustained because of your crash. Depending on the circumstances of the accident in question, you could be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses to treat injuries you suffered in the crash
- Home health services, home renovations, and other costs of personal and medical care
- Loss of wages/income or future earnings and job benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life due to permanent disability or visible scarring/disfigurement
What Is the Difference Between a Criminal Case and a Civil Case Filed Against a Driver Who Fled the Scene?
Under South Carolina law, all drivers who are involved in a collision are required to stop at or immediately return to the scene of the accident. Drivers must render assistance to anyone who has been injured and exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers. If a driver strikes unattended property and cannot locate the owner, they are expected to leave their contact and insurance information. Drivers who fail to stop at the scene of a crash or immediately return may be charged with a criminal offense. Failing to stop at the scene can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense, depending on whether injuries or fatalities occurred.
Furthermore, drivers are required to report any accident that results in injury, death, or at least $1,000 in property damage. Failure to do so can result in serious legal repercussions. If, for whatever reason, police do not respond to the scene, motorists are obligated to self-report the incident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days of the crash.
However, just because a driver is charged and convicted of fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle accident does not necessarily mean that they will automatically be held liable for vehicle damage and injuries caused as a result of the wreck. This is because the criminal justice system and civil justice system operate independently in the U.S. Drivers who are convicted criminally are punished for breaking the law. To hold a driver accountable for your losses, you’ll need to file a civil lawsuit for damages.
With that said, a driver’s conviction for fleeing the scene of a crash might serve as evidence of consciousness of responsibility for causing the accident. This reality may make it easier to prove that the driver who fled the scene was at-fault for the damage caused by the crash in question.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Hit-and-Run in South Carolina?
Assuming you do not call the police after being hit by a driver who fled the scene of the accident, you must file a written accident report with the South Carolina DMV within 15 days of the crash. You should use the FR-309 form provided by the DMV, which is the traffic collision report form for accidents that are not investigated by law enforcement.
How Do You Report a Hit-and-Run in South Carolina?
A hit-and-run accident may be reported in compliance with South Carolina laws in multiple ways. First, you may report an accident by contacting law enforcement immediately after the crash, either by dialing 911 or calling a local police department or state police directly. You must call law enforcement for any auto accident that results in bodily injury or death. Otherwise, calling the police is optional.
The other method of reporting a hit and run accident in South Carolina involves filing a written accident report with the South Carolina DMV. A written report, which should include proof of your liability insurance, must be filed for any accident in which a person is injured or killed or in which the crash results in over $1,000 of apparent property damage.
How a Columbia Hit-and-Run Lawyer Can Help You
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, you may not know where to turn to get the compensation you need for your medical bills and other losses. An experienced Columbia hit-and-run attorney from the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis can help you secure financial resources for your recovery from the crash by:
- Independently investigating the accident to recover evidence that may help locate the hit-and-run driver and also show how they bear responsibility for causing the crash
- Working with accident reconstruction, medical, and financial experts to provide persuasive opinion testimony that can strengthen your case
- Documenting your injuries and losses from the accident, including future estimated expenses and losses, to make sure we demand the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled
- Reviewing your legal options with you, including advising you regarding your rights to file insurance claims per your own coverage
- Keeping in close contact with you as your case progresses and promptly answering your calls and emails
- Preparing and filing insurance claims on your behalf and relentlessly pursuing a settlement that provides you with maximum compensation
- Going to trial (if necessary) to fight for the fair and full financial recovery you deserve
Speak with Our Columbia Hit-and-Run Lawyer Today to Learn More
The pain and trauma of a car accident can be compounded when the person at fault flees the scene rather than taking responsibility for their actions. While this is an understandably frustrating and even frightening situation, you still have options for seeking compensation for your losses – options that the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis can help you pursue. Contact us today for a free consultation with our Columbia hit-and-run lawyer and to tell us about your experience and concerns. We look forward to meeting you and to finding out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.