After a Hit-and-Run Crash: Follow These Steps
The aftermath of any car accident can be stressful and chaotic. If that crash involved a driver who fled the scene, the entire experience becomes even more frustrating.
By law, all motorists in South Carolina must remain behind at the scene of an accident, even if they were not at fault. Failure to do so may lead to felony criminal charges if the person left behind was injured or killed in the crash.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being left behind in a hit-and-run accident, below are four steps you should follow:
1. Pull your vehicle to the side of the road
You should never attempt to chase after the person who caused the accident—this could make the situation exponentially worse. Your vehicle might have significant damage, which could make it dangerous to operate. You might be injured, and your pursuit could take time away from your ability to get immediate medical care. Even if you do catch the driver, the situation could escalate to violence. Instead, pull over safely.
2. Call the police immediately
A failure to call the police could put your insurance claim at risk. Plus, the sooner you get police officers involved, the more likely it is they will be able to find the responsible driver, which will help you during the claims process.
3. Collect evidence
In this stage, you will proceed just as you would after a typical auto accident. Take pictures of your vehicle from multiple angles, and of the area where the incident happened. Write down everything you can remember about the crash, including details of the other vehicle.
If there were any witnesses on hand who saw the accident occur, make sure you get accounts from them and their contact information so you can have the police and your insurance company get in touch with them if needed. And, if you had a dash cam in your vehicle, review the footage to see if you can find additional identifying information.
4. Contact your insurance provider
After you file the police report, the next step will be to file a claim with your insurance company, if you have coverage that protects you in the event of a hit-and-run crash. You will typically need to file a claim under your uninsured motorist property damage or bodily injury coverage. Keep in mind that you will most likely need to pay the deductible.
For further guidance on the steps you should take if you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run crash, speak with a trusted South Carolina auto accident attorney as soon as possible.