Suppose you are involved in a car accident. In that case, South Carolina law requires motorists to contact law enforcement, offer help to injured parties, and let property owners who may not be present know that their property was damaged. If this does not happen, this is considered a hit-and-run.
Victims of hit-and-run accidents should deserve to be compensated for their injuries and damage to their property. An experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer will have a keen understanding of South Carolina hit-and-run laws and be happy to review your case and offer you guidance if you or a loved one has been involved in a collision.
Definition of a South Carolina Hit and Run Accident
South Carolina traffic laws, as they apply to hit-and-run accidents, tell us that the driver could be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. South Carolina’s Title 56 is a code of laws dedicated to motor vehicles. Under the law, a hit-and-run occurs when a driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident and does any of the following actions:
- Knowingly avoids stopping or flees the scene
- Fails to give their full information, including name and insurance details
- Fails to speak to law enforcement or witnesses
- Fails to offer help to the injured parties
Hit-and-run accidents are taken very seriously in South Carolina. While difficult to prove, gathering as much critical evidence as possible in the immediate aftermath of an accident is crucial.
Proving a Hit-and-Run Accident
Listed below are the determining factors used to prove that the at-fault driver participated in a hit-and-run:
- The attended vehicles sustained damage
- The vehicle was driven by the defendant
- The vehicle in question was involved in the wreck that caused the damage to the property
- There were victims in the other vehicle
There are times when the motorists involved in an accident are permitted to leave the accident scene’s location. This is typically only momentary and long enough to reach out to law enforcement. However, drivers are required to give their contact information to those at the scene as well as administer or arrange for help for the injured.
An Overview of SC Hit and Run Accidents
In South Carolina, you must stop at an accident scene and exchange contact information with the other driver. Filing a report with law enforcement is mandatory. If the vehicle or property that was damaged was unattended, you must try to contact the owner and are required to report the accident.
Motorists may face jail time and financial penalties for a hit-and-run. Their licenses may also face suspension. There may be additional penalties if the crime is compounded by traffic violations or driving under the influence (DUI).
Minors who accrue a conviction are required to report them when they apply for jobs, college, or professional licenses. This is yet another reason to avoid leaving the scene, as it can have an adverse effect on your future.
Hit and Run Laws in South Carolina
The following is a list of South Carolina hit-and-run laws included in the Motor Vehicle Code referenced above. If you have questions, our firm has a guidebook that can help car accident victims in South Carolina The steps you should take and the penalties for not following the law are also noted below:
Fatal Accidents or Accidents in Which Injuries Occur
Drivers have to stop when an accident occurs that causes injury or death. Help must be rendered, identifying information must be exchanged, and the accident must be reported to the authorities. If a motorist flees the scene of an accident with injuries, they can be charged with a misdemeanor.
This could mean a minimum sentence of 30 days imprisonment, up to 10 years incarceration. The driver may also face fines of between $5,000 and $10,000. Felony convictions can occur if the crash is fatal. In that case, the driver might spend between one and 25 years behind bars and will be liable for fines between $10,000 and $25,000.
Accidents that Cause Damage to Attended Vehicles
The traffic laws of South Carolina mandate that drivers have to stop at the scene of an accident to exchange contact information, including their names, addresses, and vehicle registration, as outlined above. The motorists may move their cars out of the road if they are causing traffic problems.
Drivers are then permitted to leave the scene to contact the police. This typically only needs to happen if there is no mobile phone reception or if no one involved has an available cellular phone to call the police. If the stipulations are not followed before leaving the scene, the motorist may face between 30 days to a year in jail, and they may face fines between $100 and $5,000.
Accidents that Involve Unattended Vehicles
South Carolina law instructs drivers to locate the owner of the unattended vehicle that was damaged. If they cannot find the vehicle’s owner, they are instructed to leave a note for the owner in plain sight. This note should contain their contact information so the car’s owner can contact them. By not doing this, the act is considered a hit-and-run, and the driver could be charged with a misdemeanor offense and go to jail for up to one year while fining up to $5,000.
Accidents that involve Fixtures on or Beside the Road
Drivers who hit a fixture like a fence, sign, landscaping, or a building beside the highway are required to notify the owner of the property or the authorities of what happened. They need to provide identifying information at the time of the accident. If they choose not to do this, they could go to jail for between 30 days and a year and have to pay a fine of between $100 and $5,000.
Contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm in the Case of a hit-and-run
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, contact a car accident lawyer with Shelly Leeke Law Firm to help you navigate the process. You are entitled to compensation for the damages you sustained. We can help. Call today to set up a free consultation.