If you have been injured in a hit and run accident you can sue the driver of the vehicle. If you were injured and you had uninsured motorist coverage at the time of the accident. You can use your own insurance company and you can also file a lawsuit as anyone else would if they were involved in a car accident.
What you Need to do so you can Make a Claim
There are 3 things you would need to do so that you can make a claim after you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident.
1 – You should have reported the accident to the police within 48 hours of the accident occurring. The person who was involved in the accident needs to contact the police within this period of time, or anyone who was acting on their behalf.
2 – The injuries or property damage should have been caused by contact with the other vehicle. This is opposed to injuries or property damage that had been caused by you swerving to avoid the other vehicle.
the accident needs to have been witnessed by someone who was not the operator or the owner of your vehicle. This individual will be required to sign an affidavit that confirms that the accident took place, and just as the facts have stated.
3 – You were in no way negligent when you were trying to determine the identity of the driver of the other vehicle, and the vehicle itself.
All of these requirements are quite straightforward, and they have been bought into place to help reduce insurance fraud in cases that involve the plaintiff being unable to establish who ran into them.
The police report allows an officer to corroborate your claim of property damage, injury, and their cause.
When it comes to the second requirement, this has been put in place so that physical evidence of the accident can be seen. This requirement also lets someone make a testimony which could hold some weight.
The final requirement is a little different to the other two. This is because South Carolina does not use contributory negligence. However, it does use comparative negligence and it means that your negligence should not stop you from recovering a settlement. You may see that your settlement is reduced if you are found somewhat negligent for the accident. This is because the court may try to see whether you were negligent when you failed to identify who hit your car. This takes place in order protect your insurance company, and it’s also used to make sure that motorists are not gaining an advantage if they are not using common sense.
Please read our article ‘Defenses Used after a Car Accident: Contributory and Comparative Negligence’ for more information.
The Right to Sue for the Accident
If you have met the above requirements you may be forgiven for thinking that you have done all you need to do to prove your case. However, you will still have to prove that the accident took place. This is where your uninsured motorist coverage can help you win your case.
If you do not have Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Every insurance carrier in South Carolina is required by law to provide uninsured motorist coverage to all of their customers, or at the very least offer them the insurance coverage. If it was found that an insurance company did not meaningfully offer uninsured motorist coverage they have not followed the requirements of the South Carolina Code of Laws, specifically Section 38-77-10.
An insurance company should give each of their customers a form that includes the list of the policy premiums and limits, a brief explanation of the coverage and a signature block that allows the recipient to acknowledge that they have been offered this coverage. There also needs to be a space on the form that states that the customer accepts or rejects the coverage. Lastly, the form should show the Department of Insurance’s contact details.
If it appears that no uninsured motorist coverage was offered, the court will take another look at the policy and read it as though it had been offered. This lets the plaintiff recover a settlement, even in a hit and run case.
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