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Any traffic collision in Greenville has the potential to cause injuries severe enough to be life-changing. But when the driver who caused the accident immediately flees the scene, the situation can start to feel impossible. Is there any hope of recovering the money you need to pay for the expenses you were left with through no fault of your own?

If you have been injured in a hit-and-run collision, the experienced hit and run victim lawyer in Greenville, SC at The Melonakos Law Firm understands the stress you are feeling. We are prepared to provide the help you need to pursue the compensation you deserve, even if that means looking for other sources beyond the at-fault driver.

Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation with our hit and run car accident lawyer in Greenville, SC
to learn more about your legal options.

What Qualifies as a Hit and Run in Greenville, South Carolina?

Under the South Carolina Code of Law, Section 56-5-1220, any driver involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage must immediately stop as close to the scene as safely as possible. If they fail to do so, they can be charged with a hit-and-run violation. The law applies whether the accident involves other individuals, vehicles (attended or unattended), or any other type of property. 

Hit-and-Run Laws and Statistics in South Carolina

South Carolina has strict penalties for drivers who flee the scene of an accident. These penalties are as follows:

  • If the accident involves damage to a vehicle or a fixture (such as a building or a fence), the driver must provide the owner with their information. If they cannot locate the owner after taking reasonable steps, they must leave a note containing the driver’s information. Failure to do so may result in a misdemeanor charge, leading to a prison sentence of 30 days to one year or a fine of $100 to $5,000.
  • If the accident leads to the injury of another person, the driver must stop at the scene and exchange insurance information with other drivers involved. They must also render reasonable aid and report the accident to the local police. Failure to do so may result in a misdemeanor charge, leading to a prison sentence of 30 days to one year and a fine of $100 to $5,000.
  • If the accident leads to great bodily injury or death of another person, the driver must also take the above steps. Failure to do so may result in a felony charge, leading to a prison sentence of 30 days to 10 years and a minimum fine of $5,000.

Despite these penalties, hit-and-run accidents remain far more common than they should be. In a single recent year, South Carolina saw 3,932 hit-and-run incidents, 729 of which led to injuries. Eleven people lost their lives in hit-and-run crashes that year.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Hit and Run in Greenville?

South Carolina law stipulates that you must immediately notify the police of any motor vehicle accident that results in injury or loss of life. 

Additionally, if the driver is eventually found and you wish to take legal action against them, the general statute of limitations is three years from the date of your injury. In other words, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the crash. In wrongful death cases, you have three years from the date of your loved one’s passing.

Common Causes of Hit-and-Run Accidents in Greenville SC

Responsible drivers may struggle to imagine why someone would flee the scene of an accident. However, people become fearful for various reasons after they have caused a collision, particularly if they fall into one or more of these categories:

  • Drunk Driver – The hit-and-run driver wanted to avoid a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. 
  • Uninsured Driver – The at-fault driver was worried about the personal financial consequences of the accident, as well as the legal penalties for driving without insurance.
  • Driver with Outstanding Warrants or Previous Tickets – The driver responsible for the accident fled the scene to avoid facing charges for unrelated legal issues.
  • Driver with Other Legal Problems – Drivers below the legal driving age, have had their license revoked, or are struggling with immigration issues may wish to avoid run-ins with the authorities.
  • Panicked Driver – Sometimes, a driver becomes overwhelmed with panic immediately after an accident. The experience may cause them to flee before they think about what they are doing.

Related content: Common causes of car accidents

Regardless of a driver’s reason for fleeing an accident, the law is clear. The authorities will use available evidence to identify and apprehend the driver. If this search is successful, you can file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company or a lawsuit against the driver.

However, there are many cases where the police cannot find the hit-and-run driver. Nevertheless, you still have options to recover compensation for your losses in the hit-and-run crash.

Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover Hit-and-Run Accidents in South Carolina?

South Carolina law requires all drivers to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage applies if an accident with an uninsured driver causes you injury or leads to property damage. It also applies to hit-and-run accidents in which the authorities cannot locate the at-fault party. 

Why You Need Our Lawyers to Help with Your Hit-and-Run Crash Case

While you may be relieved to realize that UM coverage can help, you might still feel overwhelmed with the process of filing a claim. Furthermore, the insurance adjuster may not be particularly forthright when negotiating for the compensation you need. That is true even though you are dealing with “your” insurance company. Insurers are primarily interested in avoiding large payouts, so they may attempt to undervalue your claim.

The skilled lawyers at The Melonakos Law Firm have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies. We are committed to fighting for our clients’ best interests – not the insurance company’s. 

Contact Our Greenville Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you have suffered injuries in a hit-and-run car accident, you most likely deserve compensation for your losses. The Melonakos Law Firm can help you fight for compensation to offset medical expenses, lost wages due to missed time at work, pain, suffering, and more. 

Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced Greenville hit-and-run car accident lawyers for a free consultation.

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