Did you recently get into an automobile accident caused by a driver without car insurance? In order to drive legally, all drivers in South Carolina must have auto insurance. If you find yourself stuck with repair costs due to negligence on the other driver's part, the outlook can look grim. However, you may have options if you follow the right steps. Learn more about what to do if your car was crashed by an uninsured driver.
Exchange Driver and Car Information
After you get into an accident, you need to exchange contact information and car information with the other driver. If the other party doesn't have insurance information, you should still take down their name, phone number, address, license plate #, and car make/model.
If the other driver refuses to give you their personal information, take a picture of the license plate. If the driver attempts to commit a hit-and-run, the authorities may be able to locate the perp with the license plate #.
Report the Incident to the Police
You should call the local authorities to inform them about the accident and the other party's lack of insurance. A police officer will write a report based on the information in front of them. The report can be helpful in the case, so keep it in a safe place.
When you talk to the police officer, keep your report as general as possible. If you forgo too much information, it can be used against you later. Limit what you say until after you speak to a lawyer.
Without evidence, you have a case of "he-said", "she-said". As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proof, so you'll need to prove that the accident was the uninsured driver's fault. Without evidence, the court will need to side with the defendant.
There are a number of items you can collect as evidence. For example, you can take pictures of the damage. The pictures may be able to explain how the accident happened based on the point of collision, extent of damage, and tire tracks on the road. Sometimes you can obtain video footage of the accident if the collision occurred near a business with security cameras. If there were third-party witnesses to the accident, ask if they would provide you with a written victim statement. If you have another person in the car with you, they can provide a witness statement, but it's not as convincing as a statement from an unaffiliated third party.
Contact a South Carolina Car Crash Lawyer
After you report the incident and gather as much evidence as you can, your next call should be to a South Carolina car crash lawyer for a free consultation.
Present all of the details about the case, including all evidence, police reports, and communications between you and the other driver. The lawyer will determine if they want to take your case based on the initial consultation.
If the lawyer agrees to represent you, he will begin developing your case. Clarify with your lawyer what verbiage you should use in your official statements to the insurance company and the court.
Learn About Local Car Accident Laws
It's important to talk to your lawyer about the car accident laws in South Carolina so you understand your rights and responsibilities.
South Carolina is an "at-fault" state, meaning that the culpable party will be responsible for paying for the damages. The authorities may determine that the other driver wasn't 100% at fault but rather 80%. The driver found to be 80% at-fault will need to pay for 80% of the damages.
In most instances, the at-fault driver will file a claim through their insurance company. Since the at-fault driver in this case doesn't have insurance, you need to look into alternative solutions.
Drivers in South Carolina are required to have both liability insurance and uninsured driver insurance. Minimum coverage for property damage is $25,000, and the minimum coverage for bodily injury is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Visit a Doctor
Car accidents can cause serious physical damage, even if the injuries aren't immediately apparent (ex. internal bleeding, back pain). We recommend that you visit a doctor as soon as possible after the accident to receive an evaluation. If you wait too long after the accident, it can create doubt about the cause of the injuries.
Get Repair Quotes
Bring your vehicle to multiple auto repair shops to get quotes for your vehicle's repairs. You will use these quotes to prove the extent of the damages caused by the accident.
Verify the Details of Your Insurance Policy
Contact your insurance company to verify the details about your insurance policy. If you have the required uninsured driver insurance, you have the option to file a claim through your own insurance company.
Verify with your insurance company if your premiums will go up as a result of the claim or not. If you don't have uninsured driver insurance, can't afford increased premiums, or the insurance company denies part or all of your claim, meet with your attorney to discuss your next course of action.
You should also verify if your policy covers the cost of a rental while your car's in the shop.
File a Civil Claim Against the Uninsured Driver
When all else fails, you will need to file a civil claim against the uninsured driver for property damage, bodily injury, court fees, and any other losses you experienced. If the judge rules in your favor, the defendant will be responsible for paying you the damages.
Auto Accident Attorney in South Carolina
If you got into an accident with an uninsured driver, contact the Law Offices of Brian Murphy LLC for a free consultation.