When a car accident occurs, both drivers are required by law to stay on the scene until a report is made to law enforcement, or in the least, until both parties have exchanged valid insurance and contact information. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, and the penalty can be severe, especially if the other party is injured. Regardless of the severity of the accident, however, both parties are deemed “legally aware” of their responsibility to remain at the scene of an accident until a report is made or both parties agree to part ways.
It doesn’t happen often, but there are times when the at-fault party will drive away from the scene of an accident. If you think the at-fault driver might flee, go ahead and take a picture of the other party’s license plate just to be safe. If you find yourself in this position, remain calm and evaluate your situation. If they do flee, do NOT try to chase down the fleeing party. Call the police immediately and give them a description of the vehicle, driver, occupants and exact location of collision. While waiting on the arrival of law enforcement, try to speak with all people that might have witnessed the collision and jot down their contact information. Most importantly, make sure a police report documents the event, then call your attorney for advice on how to proceed with filing an insurance claim.
Ideally, your attorney and his investigators will be able to find the at-fault driver and force their insurance company to cover the damage to your vehicle and your injuries. However, in the unlikely event they cannot, your attorney can still make you whole through your own insurance policy at no cost to you. In South Carolina, all drivers are required to purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage for these exact situations, so not all is lost if this unfortunate event happens to you. In this situation, your own insurance company has an affirmative duty to cover your losses since you’ve paid the premiums for this type of coverage, and if they don’t, your attorney can still sue “John Doe” on your behalf, which forces your own insurance company to defend the at-fault driver who fled the scene! Insurance companies take these cases very seriously, as it opens them up to a bad faith claim and makes it almost certain that you will take your business elsewhere to a company who will honor their duties to you.
If you are the victim of a hit and run accident and need help finding the at-fault party or need help convincing your own insurance company to honor their duty to cover your losses, including property damage, personal injury, lost wages, and consequential damages, call us today for a free case evaluation so we can help you achieve the result you deserve.