Hit and Run Accidents
Thousands of people in South Carolina are injured in motor vehicle-related accidents each year. Car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and motorcycle accidents result in severe injuries and cause millions of dollars in damages. After ensuring that injured parties get the medical care and attention they need, one of the first things that is looked at is who is responsible for the accident. While those involved exchange contact and insurance information, state and local highway patrol officers take statements from all sides, talk to witnesses, and file crash reports outlining what happened and who was to blame. Unfortunately in some cases, holding responsible parties accountable, or even determining exactly what happened, is impossible. Accidents caused by hit and run drivers cause serious, sometimes fatal, injuries. When a driver leaves the scene of an accident, victims are left holding the bag, wondering who to hold responsible for their injuries, and how they’ll pay for the damages they’ve incurred.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Not only do drivers have a moral obligation to stop at the scene of an accident, they are required to do so by law. Under Section 56-5-1210 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, drivers involved in accidents resulting in damages and injuries are required to stop at the scene of the accident, or as near to the scene as safely possible. Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident include the following:
- In an accident involving minor injuries, drivers face misdemeanor charges, including jail time of 30 days to a year, and fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
- For accidents involving serious injuries, drivers face felony charges, mandatory imprisonment up to 10 years, and fines up to $10,000
- In accidents resulting in death, hit and run drivers face felony charges, with mandatory jail time up to 25 years, and fines ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.
In addition to remaining on the scene of an accident, drivers are also required by law to exchange information with other drivers, and offer aid to any injured parties. Failing to do so by leaving the scene of the accident can result in additional charges, fines, and penalties being added.
Pursuing Hit and Run Cases
Hit and run drivers cause incalculable suffering for the people they hurt. In addition to the injuries victims suffer, they also have to contend with their financial losses while police search for the accountable party. In order to ensure that victims get justice and hit and run drivers are penalized for their crime, law enforcement diligently investigates and extensively searches for drivers who leave the scene of an accident. Oftentimes, they are successful. A driver involved in a June 2015 Lexington County hit and run case that resulted in the death of a pedestrian was brought to justice a week after the incident, when police located his vehicle. They were able to arrest the suspect, charging him with hit and run involving death, as well as willful destruction of evidence due to his efforts to conceal the accident.
While other cases are not solved as quickly, the police continue to look for the responsible party. The South Carolina Highway Patrol maintains a list of unsolved hit and run cases, which they hope the public will help them to solve. Oftentimes, witnesses to these accidents, acquaintances or neighbors of the driver who left the scene, and auto repair shops can provide valuable information leading to the capture of the hit and run driver.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been hurt or injured in a car, bicycle, or pedestrian accident involving a hit and run driver, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm right away. Our experienced South Carolina accident attorneys may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today for a free review of your case in the Charleston area.