What To Do After a Hit and Run Accident in Greenville, South Carolina
If you have ever experienced a car accident, you know it is a stressful, often painful, time. You may worry about the extent of your injuries, the possible property damage, dealing with your insurance company, and more. However, what if the other driver flees the scene? Hit and run accidents introduce other considerations you may not need to consider during a typical accident.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
Hit and run accidents involve a driver and another vehicle, a motorcyclist, cyclist, pedestrian, or a fixed object. What begins as a typical collision accident becomes a hit and run accident when the driver flees the scene of the accident without stopping to identify him or herself or render aid to any victims. In some states, hitting an animal and fleeing the scene also constitutes hit and run.
Drivers that did not cause the accident can still receive hit and run charges. If you do not hold a driver’s license and flee the scene of an accident you did not cause, you can still receive hit and run charges. If you leave to get medical treatment, you will not receive hit and run charges so long as you exercise your proper duty to identify yourself and your insurance company, or return to the scene.
What Should You Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
First, if you experience a car accident, stay at the scene unless directed to leave by law enforcement or medical personnel. Wait somewhere safe, and attempt to remove your vehicle from the roadway. If the other driver attempts to leave the scene, you will need to gather as much information as possible.
- Get as many details about the other vehicle as you can. You may only have a few seconds, but try to remember as many details as possible, including make, model, color, and license plate number as well as any distinguishing features, particularly from the crash. Write all information down as soon as you can.
- Get as many details about the driver as you can. Try to take notice of descriptive details like sex, race, age, hair color, and any other features you may notice.
- Note the direction in which the car left the scene.
- Find witnesses. If people nearby witnessed the accident or the fleeing driver, ask questions. Obtain their contact information as well, in case either of you remembers anything later.
- Take pictures. Take photos of your injuries, the condition of your car and any damages caused by the crash, and the accident area.
- Call the authorities. After most accidents, you should contact police first, as officers can help prevent drivers from leaving the scene. After a hit and run accident, however, inform police the other driver left the scene and provide a description.
- Seek medical attention. After police have cleared you to leave the scene, you are free to seek medical attention for your injuries. Retain any medical bills and documents for future use when seeking compensation.
- File an insurance claim. Depending on whether police are able to find the other driver, you may need to file an insurance claim with your own personal insurance.
- Contact an attorney. An attorney can examine your case and advise you regarding your legal options.
What if Police Find the Other Driver?
If police are able to locate the other driver, you may seek compensation for your injuries via the driver’s insurance company. However, drivers often choose to flee the scene of an accident because they do not carry insurance. If this is the case, you may not receive compensation except from your own insurance company.
Many companies offer uninsured motorist coverage, which means your insurance company will pay for your expenses in lieu of the other driver’s insurance. Other options include filing a claim with your health insurance company or a personal injury protection portion of your auto insurance. A car accident attorney is often a good first step, as he or she can outline your rights and suggest next steps.