No one likes a car accident, but when the person who hit you leaves the scene, you are left with few options for compensation. You can suffer significant injury and property damage, and you may not know where to turn. A skilled Greenville hit-and-run accident attorney can help you understand how to proceed.
At the Shelley Leeke Law Firm, our Greenville personal injury lawyers can investigate your case and try to find the other driver. There is often evidence that can lead us to them and force them to face charges and a civil suit against them. Do not give up and assume nothing can be done. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more.
Penalties for Hit-and-Run in Greenville, SC
Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law in South Carolina. Anyone who is part of a crash must stop, render aid, contact the authorities, and provide their contact information. When a driver fails to do so, they can be faced with criminal charges.
Sometimes this crime is charged as a misdemeanor, but in other cases, it is considered a felony. Offenses like these are known as “wobblers.” The penalties for hit-and-run are:
- An accident resulting in injury: This is typically filed as a misdemeanor and has a penalty of 30 days to one year in jail, plus a fine of $100 to $5000.
- An accident resulting in great bodily injury: This offense can be a wobbler, depending on the injury, and is usually a felony charge when the victim suffers an injury that increases their risk of death, loss of bodily function, or disfigurement. Penalties are up to 10 years in prison and between $5000 and $10,000 in fines.
- An accident resulting in death: Always charged as a felony, a conviction carries up to 35 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
While locating the person who hit you and left the scene can be difficult, a Shelley Leeke hit-and-run accident attorney in Greenville has the skills to gather and analyze all available evidence. In addition, we can work with law enforcement authorities to help identify the driver at fault so they can be properly charged.
Even if they are successfully convicted of their crime, you will still need an attorney to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries and property damage. This is where our team will work hardest for you, to be able to file a claim against their insurance or file a lawsuit.
Reasons Why a Driver Might Leave an Accident Scene
Although it may not make sense to you after you have been hit, drivers often leave accidents for reasons that they consider acceptable at the time. Afterward, they may realize they were wrong but hesitate to turn themselves over to law enforcement.
No matter what the excuse is, every driver on the road owes a duty of care to drive safely and obey the laws. When they fail in this duty, they can be held negligent by the person they hurt. Our lawyers have seen many situations where hit-and-run drivers leave the scene for reasons such as:
- Collided with a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcycle rider
- Emotionally distraught
- Hit a stationary object and thought they could leave
- Influenced by drugs or alcohol
- Leaving the scene of a crime
- No insurance coverage
- Suspended, revoked, or no license
- Unaware of the crash
- Vehicle was stolen
- Wanted for other violations or crimes
At Shelley Leeke, we are compassionate but do not feel that our clients must suffer the consequences of someone else’s wrongful actions, no matter why. We are focused on protecting your rights and securing the most compensation available for you in an insurance or civil claim.
Compensation After a Greenville, SC Hit-and-Run Accident
If the person can be found, you can file a claim against their insurance. South Carolina requires that all drivers carry two liability policies: one for bodily injury and one for property damage. The minimums are as follows:
- Bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage: $25,000 for one accident
In addition, the state requires all drivers to carry uninsured motorist insurance. Ideally, you will locate the person and force their insurance to pay for your losses. However, because you must carry a policy in the event a hit-and-run driver cannot be found, you still have a backup option. This insurance must cover the same minimums as liability policies, commonly with a $200 deductible.
Sometimes, even an insurance policy is not enough to pay for all the losses you suffer. When your damages exceed the coverage limits, it is time to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a Greenville hit-and-run accident lawyer from the Shelley Leeke Law Firm.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
You can seek compensatory damages, which are classified as economic and non-economic. Economic losses are those with a fixed value, while your intangible losses fall under the non-economic category. No matter which kind, every penny of these expenses must be repaid to you for the injury and property loss you have suffered.
Your economic losses can include medical bills, travel costs to receive treatment, changes to your home to accommodate a disability from your injuries, and the expenses of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Your lawyer will also advise you on calculating the amount of lost income and benefits you have from missing work.
For non-economic damages, you must be made whole for the pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, emotional distress, and any disability you experience. You may lose interest in your hobbies or become depressed and unable to provide care for your family. Money cannot replace these things, but it can help you deal with the emotional aspect of suffering a hit-and-run accident.
You Need a Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer in Greenville, SC on Your Side
Even if your accident was minor, you can be left dealing with the consequences of the hit-and-run driver’s carelessness and wrongful actions. They may think they have gotten away with it, but the Shelley Leeke Law Office will immediately begin investigating the accident to collect any evidence. We will put our team to work locating information such as:
- Photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and the property damages
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Video from security, traffic, and dashboard cameras in the area
- Information from local repair shops that may have fixed the driver’s car
- Items left behind by the driver, such as paint or parts that were torn off
In the meantime, we will also negotiate with your insurance company to ensure you get full payment for your losses under your uninsured motorist policy. Insurance adjusters do not like to pay claims because it affects their bottom line. Our attorneys will aggressively push back on lowball offers they may make, and we will not rest until your needs are met for your claim.
If the driver is located and has no insurance or not enough, we can pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover what you are owed. We will handle all the paperwork and filing procedures, so your claim is filed on time and correctly. South Carolina requires that you begin your lawsuit within three years after the date of your accident. We will not let you miss that deadline.
Contact a Greenville Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney Now
When someone hits your car and flees the scene, you can feel as if you are left without any choice except to pay for your injuries. It does not have to be that way when you hire an experienced Greenville hit-and-run attorney from our firm.
The Shelley Leeke Law Firm is committed to aggressively representing your interests and holding the ones who hurt you accountable. We will tackle the legal difficulties while you recover from your injuries and damage. Contact our office today and schedule your free, no-risk case evaluation.