Hit-and-Run Crashes in the Carolinas
Being involved in an accident or a crash is frustrating. But what happens when the other driver flees the scene? Frustration can quickly turn to outrage. What should you do after a hit-and-run? What if you’re hurt? Who will pay for the damage to your car or other harms and losses you suffer?
You don’t have to figure out the answers on your own. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation, right now.
While hit-and-run injury lawyers generally do not deal with criminal law, it is important to know that anyone who leaves the scene of a traffic collision in North or South Carolina is breaking the law!
In North Carolina, according to § 20-166, a driver who flees the scene of an accident can be held criminally liable.
In South Carolina, according to section 56-5-1210, a driver who flees the scene of an accident can be held criminally liable.
5 Steps You Should Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident
So you were involved in a crash, but the other driver has fled the scene. What do you do next? Stay calm and follow these steps. If you’re injured, the first step should always be to call 9-1-1 to seek medical assistance – take care of yourself first and foremost, and any of the passengers in your vehicle. If applicable, here are the next steps:
- DO NOT PURSUE. If you do, you would also be leaving the scene of the accident. You’re not a police officer. Trying to pursue a hit-and-run driver could be dangerous in many ways, including breaking more traffic laws or causing another accident. Record a description of the other vehicle, after you have attended to the health and safety of yourself and others involved if you can while it’s fresh in your mind. Whether you write it down, type it into your phone, or even record it with your phone’s camera, get the best description you can.
– What color was it?
– How old was it?
– Were there any identifying marks or stickers?
– Can you describe the driver?
– Did you get some or all of the license plate?
- Call the police. They have a process for dealing with traffic accidents. They’re going to take your statement and record evidence. Write down your own account of the crash, and include as many details as you can including locations, directions, and traffic conditions. Take pictures – lots of them.
- See your doctor as needed. Even if you don’t feel bad right after the crash, you may feel the effects in the coming days. Some injuries, like whiplash, can take time before symptoms form. Monitor your health carefully. If you have new aches or pains, trouble sleeping, feel dizzy or nauseous, or anything out of the ordinary, consult with your physician and tell them about the crash.
- Call an attorney. The authorities may never catch the hit-and-run driver, and either way, you’re going to have an insurance claim. If the other driver is caught, they may not even have insurance. An experienced hit-and-run lawyer will be able to guide you, protect your best interests, and deal with the insurance company and paperwork. This is especially helpful if you’re injured, as it allows you to focus on recovery while a legal professional focuses on the insurance claim.
- Call your insurance provider. If the other driver cannot be located, or if they are and have no insurance, your own insurance policy should end up covering the damage. How this is handled depends on your policy. No matter what happens, remember that your insurance company makes money by paying out as little as possible. Having an attorney means you can refer the insurer to your lawyer to avoid dealing directly with them.
Does My Insurance Have to Pay for a Hit-and-Run Crash?
Even if the other driver is located, you may still have to lean on uninsured or underinsured motorist policies. If the other driver cannot be found, the only avenue left is your own policy. That’s why you have one, after all. In this case, the damage to your vehicle may be covered by your policy.
If you are injured, you’ll again be turning to your policy. You have medical coverage – it is required in the Carolinas, though the amounts may vary based on your location.
Even if the other driver is located, you may still have to lean on your policy. That driver may not have insurance – which may be the reason they fled the scene in the first place! If the driver does have insurance, they may not have enough, which is when underinsured motorist policies kick in.
In North Carolina – Uninsured Motorist coverage is required, but Underinsured Motorist coverage is optional. If you opt for the minimum required policy, you only have Uninsured Motorist coverage. In South Carolina – Uninsured Motorist coverage is required, but Underinsured Motorist coverage is optional.
How a Hit-and-Run Lawyer Can Help You
A skilled advocate can help you sort through types of coverage and your eligibility for the different coverages, and then negotiate with the insurance company aggressively on your behalf:
1. Types of coverage
If the other driver was found, what type of coverage do they have? If the other driver can’t be found, what kind of coverage do you have? What are some coverages you might not know about that you could be eligible for, like the diminished value of your car after repairs?
2. Eligibility for Coverage
Unfortunately, this is not as simple as just reading through the policy. There are rules for when the various policies apply, and the rules vary by state. For example, North Carolina requires physical contact between the vehicles in Uninsured Motorist cases. Contributory negligence might also become an issue in North Carolina.
In South Carolina, contact between the vehicles is not required. You may still be able to recover through an Uninsured Motorist policy if you have a witness willing to provide an affidavit (under threat of criminal penalty if the statement is false).
3. Fighting the Insurance Company
The insurance companies are on their own side, not yours. An insurance company is unlikely to offer extra information about the compensation you may be eligible for. They often have a strong financial interest in giving you as little as possible instead of the maximum you may deserve. You want a team in your corner that can go toe-to-toe with the most stubborn opponents.
Why Hire a James Scott Farrin Attorney for a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?
Here are two good reasons…
- The James Scott Farrin Advantage means you can draw on a formidable team with more than 850 years of combined experience.
- Our recognized professionals have inside knowledge of how the other side works. Several were formerly defense attorneys for the insurance industry.
…and one great one:
- In 2022, we recovered over $185 million in total for over 5,000 clients. In total, we’ve recovered more than 1.6 billion for more than 60,000 clients.1
Protect Your Rights With a Free Case Evaluation
Being in an accident of any kind and not knowing what to do next is a lonely, stressful feeling. An experienced advocate can help you shoulder the load. If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident, contact us online or call us at 1-866-900-7078 to try and ensure you get everything you may be entitled to.
A real person is on standby. We’ll evaluate your case for free.