Can I Sue A Hit-And-Run Driver?
If you have been involved in a South Carolina accident where the responsible party fled the scene, you may be left feeling overwhelmed by the consequences of their reckless behavior. The good news is, you may not have to shoulder the financial burden on this accident alone. There are legal avenues available that make it possible to hold hit-and-run drivers accountable for the harm that they caused. The best way to do this is by bringing a personal injury lawsuit. Of course, in order to bring an effective lawsuit you have to know who you are suing, and this is often the biggest hurdle to overcome in hit-and-run accident cases. If you would like to speak to an experienced South Carolina personal injury lawyer about the specifics of your case, you are welcome to contact the Offices of Gus Anastopoulo to schedule a consultation.
Establishing Liability for a Hit-and-Run Accident
The best possible outcome of a hit-and-run accident legally is that the responsible driver is identified by the police. It is illegal in South Carolina to flee the scene of an accident, even more so if grievous bodily harm was caused. For this reason, police will search for the driver. However, if the police are not able to positively identify the driver there are still other avenues available. Personal injury attorneys often work with specialized investigators to help locate hit-and-run drivers. They will look at things like security camera footage from the scene, eyewitness accounts, and other drivers’ dashcam footage, in order to get the necessary details on the responsible driver. Once the driver is identified, it is easy to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. However, even in cases where the other driver’s identity cannot be established, there still may be avenues for recovery available.
What to Do In a Hit-and-Run Accident if You Can’t Identify the Driver
If you cannot identify the driver who hit you and fled, all hope for recovery is not lost. It’s still possible that you may pursue a “John Doe claim” under your available uninsured motorist coverage. Under these circumstances, to satisfy the requirements needed to successfully pursue this type of claim the following criteria must be satisfied:
1) the insured or someone in his behalf has reported the accident to some appropriate police authority within a reasonable time, under all the circumstances, after its occurrence;
(2) the injury or damage was caused by physical contact with the unknown vehicle, or the accident must have been witnessed by someone other than the owner or operator of the insured vehicle; provided however, the witness must sign an affidavit attesting to the truth of the facts of the accident contained in the affidavit;
(3) the insured was not negligent in failing to determine the identity of the other vehicle and the driver of the other vehicle at the time of the accident.
S.C. Code Ann §38-77-170
It is crucial that this criteria be satisfied following a collision with an unknown driver.
Talk to Gus Anastopoulo
If you have been injured by a hit-and-run driver in Charleston or the greater South Carolina area, Gus Anastopoulo can help. Contact the Charleston personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Gus Anastopoulo today to schedule your free consultation.