As any driver knows, an automobile accident can happen at any time and any place, regardless of how careful you might be. While it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information, there are some drivers who choose to do so. In these cases, the average person might wonder what the next steps might be in order to recover any damages or injuries sustained as a result of the accident. Fortunately, South Carolina contains rules regarding when a claim can be brought against an unknown motorist through the injured individual’s uninsured motorist provision.
Requirements to make a Claim
The conditions necessary to sue a hit-and-run driver can be found in South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 38-77-170. Under this statute, there is generally no right of action of recovery under an individual’s uninsured motorist provision if the identity of the motorist causing bodily or property damage is unknown. Fortunately, the statute provides three conditions that must be met in order for a victim to recover under his uninsured motorist provision.
The first requirement under Section 38-77-170 is that the either the insured or someone on his behalf must report the accident to the appropriate authorities within a reasonable amount of time. While most, if not all motorists injured by a hit-and-run driver would contact the police, this provision goes to protecting against fraudulent claims
The next requirement concerns how the damage occurred. In order to satisfy the second condition, the damage or injury must be caused by physical contact with the unknown vehicle. If the injury or damage was not caused by physical contact, however, then the accident must have been witnessed by an individual other than the owner or operator of the insured vehicle. In addition, the witness must also submit an affidavit attesting to the truth of the facts contained in the affidavit.
Finally, in order to recover under Section 38-77-170, an individual injured by a hit-and-run motorist must not have been negligent in failing to determine the identity of the other vehicle and the driver of the other vehicle at the time of the accident.
In addition to these conditions, however, there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account before bringing an action under this statute. The most important thing to be aware of, however, is that you must have uninsured motorist coverage in order to recover under Section 38-77-170. While South Carolina does not require motorists to have uninsured motorist coverage, it does require insurance companies to make a meaningful offer to customers. If an insured individual chooses to refuse uninsured motorist coverage, then that individual would be unable to recover in a hit-and-run collision, regardless of the severity of their injuries.
Contact an Attorney
Automobile accidents can be stressful enough in ordinary circumstances without having to wonder about who was the cause of the accident. While navigating the legal process can be a complex and stressful process at times, you do not have to go through it alone. If you are looking for a passionate attorney to help you today, contact the David Aylor Law Offices for a free case evaluation.