Yes, but South Carolina law contains some harsh requirements you need to know, or you will lose your rights:
- Report the accident to the police immediately. It’s best to notify the law enforcement agency that would ordinarily investigate the crash at its location. It could be local police, the sheriff’s department, or the highway patrol.
- If you suspect you know who hit you, or you know someone else like a witness who might know, report it. You can’t be careless in helping police determine the identity of the other car or the identity of the other driver.
- Here’s a shocking inside tip: if your crash wasn’t caused by physical contact with the unknown vehicle, you need an independent witness to the crash. What kinds of crashes are we talking about here? The classic example is getting run off the road into a tree by a driver who just keeps going. No, he never hit you, but he ran you into the tree. That witness must sign an affidavit—a sworn statement—describing the facts of the hit-and-run accident. The affidavit must contain a specific disclaimer: “A false statement concerning the facts contained in this affidavit may subject the person making the false statement to criminal penalties as provided by law.”
A Real Spoiler Alert: Where the Money Comes From
This is the first shock many victims get. The compensation for your injuries comes from your own policy. It’s good that the law provides the right to recover from a policy you paid for when you get victimized by an unknown driver. But, it soon becomes stunning for many victims when their own insurance company turns on them. That’s when many realize while the agent is their friend when she sells them the policy, the insurance company becomes an enemy when they try to use it.
These cases are like any other case. You’ve got to fight for yourself and make sure all your evidence is properly presented to give yourself the best shot at proper compensation. That’s why it's always a good idea to contact an experienced auto accident attorney before you consider dealing with the insurance claims rep, called an adjuster.
Going It Alone Can Get You Nothing, or Close to It
While the law seems to further victimize the victim, it’s got to be followed, or you could lose your right to compensation you might desperately need to repay medical bills and make up for lost income, not to mention what I call human loss and, potentially, what could be a huge issue in your case the insurance company will fight hard against—punitive damages.
If you’ve got questions about your auto accident case, download our FREE BOOK on crash cases.