Hit and run accidents in SC are more common than you might think.
A quick search for “fatal hit and run accidents” brings pages and pages of search results. When you take into consideration that most hit and runs are not fatal and that the media usually only reports the fatalities, you may get an idea of the magnitude of Myrtle Beach’s hit and run problem.
Recent fatalities in the Myrtle Beach area include:
- A fatal hit and run on Highway 501 in Conway last month.
- A fatal hit and run in Georgetown County in August.
- A fatal hit and run in North Myrtle Beach in August.
- A fatal hit and run that killed a moped rider in May.
- A fatal hit and run in Horry County last December.
- A fatal hit and run that killed a moped rider in Surfside Beach in 2015.
- A fatal hit and run in Conway in 2015.
Although hit and run accidents initially do not have a defendant because they left the scene, someone is usually caught and prosecuted for the crime. In all the above-listed cases, a person was quickly apprehended and charged with hit and run. In other cases, it may take some time for police to identify a suspect.
SC Hit and Run – Criminal Court and Civil Court
In the law, there are two sides to each “hit and run” case. Once apprehended, the suspect drivers will most likely face criminal charges for hit and run, or leaving the scene of an accident. These persons may or may not be guilty of the offense and they need aggressive representation to protect their rights and to defend them against the accusation.
On the other hand, there are also victims in each hit and run accident who are seeking justice in two types of courtrooms – criminal and civil. Once the responsible party has been identified, they (or their insurance company) must compensate their victims for all damages that were done including for wrongful death if their actions resulted in someone’s death.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident in SC – Criminal Court
Following any accident that results in injury or death, a driver must remain at the scene, notify law enforcement, provide their contact information and license upon request, and give aid to any injured person. If an accident involves an unattended vehicle or “roadside fixture” like a mailbox, the driver must make efforts to locate the owner and notify them.
If a person leaves the scene of an accident, they can be charged with the crime of “hit and run” or “leaving the scene of an accident.” The severity of the crime depends on the severity of the accident:
- Hit and run involving an unattended vehicle or roadside fixture is a misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail.
- Hit and run involving an attended vehicle that results in property damage only is a misdemeanor that carries up to one year in prison.
- Hit and run where someone is injured but there is not great bodily injury or death is a misdemeanor that carries no less than 30 days and up to one year in prison.
- Hit and run that results in great bodily injury carries no less than 30 days and up to ten years in prison.
- Hit and run that results in death carries no less than one year and up to 25 years in prison.
Hit and Run Accidents – Civil Court
A hit and run accident that results in injuries or death may be the most horrible type of auto accident for any family to experience.
In most cases, the at-fault driver will eventually be found, and you will be able to make a claim against their insurance company. When the driver cannot be found, you may still be able to make a claim against your own uninsured or underinsured policy or there may be other coverage available.
If you or a family member were the victim of a hit and run accident in Myrtle Beach or Rock Hill, SC, the auto accident attorneys at Axelrod and Associates will review your case and help you to identify all possible sources of recovery.
Whether it was a fender-bender with minor injuries or a wrongful death case, we will fight to help you to hold the guilty party accountable and to get maximum compensation for your losses.