Being injured by another driver’s thoughtless negligence is terrible. However, one thing that can make it worse is if the motorist takes off without rendering aid, exchanging contact and insurance information, or doing anything else that he should do (and is obligated by law to do). If this is the challenging situation you find yourself in, reach out to a dedicated South Carolina car accident lawyer today.
A Frightening Trend
According to a 2018 report from the AAA Newsroom, hit-and-run accidents are trending in the wrong direction. Consider the following statistics:
- There is a hit-and-run accident every minute on our roadways.
- In 2016 alone, there were m000 deaths caused by hit-and-runs (the highest number on record and 60 percent increase over 2009).
- Pedestrians and bicyclists are the most likely to be killed by hit-and-run drivers.
According to the executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, these accidents represent a growing challenge for traffic safety.
The Hit-and-Run Laws in South Carolina
In South Carolina, every driver who is involved in a car accident that involves injury or death is required by law to stop at the scene and to take specific steps, including:
- Exchange contact information, car insurance information, driver’s license number, and car registration number with the other motorists involved
- Call 911 and render whatever aid you reasonably can
- Report the accident to the local police (if calling 911 wasn’t necessary)
If the At-Fault Driver Can Be Found
Suppose the at-fault driver can be identified and found. In that case, you will file your car accident claim with that driver’s car insurance company (or you may file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, but it will likely be via his or their insurance company). While finding hit-and-run drivers has traditionally been exceptionally challenging, now that every bystander and eyewitness has a phone at the ready, there’s a greater chance that the person will be identified and found.
If the Driver Can’t Be Found
If the driver who hit and ran cannot be identified and found, you may be able to recover for your losses through optional coverage that you may have purchased through your car insurance provider. This coverage can include:
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage will compensate you for the physical damages you suffer and the property damage to your car if you are hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or by a driver who flees the scene and can’t be found.
- Personal Injury Protection – Personal injury protection (PIP) covers property damage to your vehicle, your medical expenses, and other associated losses without regard to who is at fault.
Doing What You Can to Identify and Find the Hit-and-Run Driver
If a hit-and-run driver leaves you injured, it is naturally in your best interest to do what you can to identify and find the driver (without jeopardizing your health in the process). Some of the steps you can take toward this end include:
- Use your phone to take pictures or videos of the other car making its getaway (if possible). Anything you can capture can help, including the make, model, and color of the vehicle, the license plate number, and anything unusual about the car.
- Call the police right away.
- Immediately write down any information you were able to glean about the other driver’s vehicle or person
- Take statements from eyewitnesses at the scene (don’t also forget to gather contact information).
Never take it upon yourself to chase down a hit-and-run driver. Doing so only makes the situation that much more dangerous.
The losses (or damages in legal terms) you suffer as a result of a hit-and-run can be overwhelming, including:
- Ongoing and extensive medical costs
- A decrease in income and lost earning potential
- Emotional and physical pain and suffering can prove psychologically crippling
Addressing your complete damages can prove critical to your ability to recover fully.
The Hit-and-Run Driver
Drivers often flee the scene of accidents because they recognize that their negligence is to blame.
A Drunk Driver
Drunk drivers who can flee the scene of an accident recognize that they are impaired and face considerable penalties and fines if convicted. This can motivate a drunk driver to run rather than to stay and face the music. Drunk drivers cause some of the most dangerous accidents on our roads. Because their impulse control and inhibitions are diminished, they are more likely to engage in reckless actions, such as fleeing the scene of an accident.
A Distracted Driver
A driver who is texting frantically behind the wheel can cause untold damage. By the time that driver recognizes just how bad the situation is, they may skip out on facing the responsibility involved. Texting is the most dangerous distraction out there, and drivers recognize the danger involved and that it is illegal, but many choose to continue engaging in the life-threatening practice.
A Speeding Driver
Speed makes accidents more likely, makes it more likely that the accident will be hazardous, and allows the driver less time to respond safely. A speeding driver sees the writing on the wall and knows that trouble is brewing for them if ticketed, influencing the driver to run.
An Aggressive Driver
Aggressive drivers take danger and recklessness to new levels and fleeing the scene of the accident fits in well with their usual lineup of risky driving practices, including:
- Speeding excessively
- Darting in and out of traffic
- Ignoring traffic lights, signs, and signals
- Barreling through intersections without applying the necessary caution
- Changing lanes illegally
- Refusing to yield the right-of-way
- Harassing other drivers verbally, with obscene gestures, with incessant honking, and with blinking headlights
Aggressive drivers are more likely to cause dangerous accidents and are more likely to flee the scene of a hazardous accident. Never engage with an aggressive driver on the road. The driver lets you know that they are dangerous right out of the gate, which makes allowing them as much room on the road as possible the best policy.
Every motorist on the road owes everyone else a considerable duty of care that includes closely following the road rules and allowing for each other’s safe passage. Driver negligence is an outright breach of this duty of care, but failing to stop after being involved in a car accident causes this breach to grow exponentially.
You Need a Dedicated Car Accident Lawyer in Your Corner
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, having an experienced South Carolina car crash attorney on your side is always well advised. However, if the car accident is a hit-and-run, it turns the heat up considerably, and not working with an experienced attorney is ill-advised. The stakes are too high – and these claims are too complicated – to leave to chance.
You Don’t Have to Worry About Money to Hire a Car Accident Attorney at David Aylor Law Offices
You’ve been injured by a motorist who didn’t even bother to stop and render aid, and your medical bills are piling up. Your earnings may be dwindling. Now may not seem like a good time to add the expense of a car accident attorney to your budget, but you shouldn’t let this concern you. Car accident attorneys – and other practitioners of personal injury law – generally work on contingency. This means that your lawyer will be paid a predetermined percentage of the compensation you ultimately receive, and if no compensation is forthcoming, you won’t owe anything.
If you’ve been injured by a hit and run driver, you have questions, and the answers to the most frequently asked questions can help.
Should I accept an early settlement offer?
It’s never a good idea to accept a settlement offer before consulting with a knowledgeable car accident attorney who is up to speed on your claim. An early settlement offer is very likely an attempt to swoop in before you are fully aware of how extensive your damages are.
Will my pain and suffering be addressed?
Your car accident claim against the at-fault driver who fled the scene can and should address the considerable physical and emotional pain and suffering you’ve endured.
Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured by a driver so callous that they left the scene of the accident, the knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorneys at David Aylor Law Offices in South Carolina take your claim and your concerns very seriously and are here to help. Your case is essential, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 843-733-7662 to schedule a free case evaluation today.