What to Do After an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist
Under South Carolina law, motorists are required to carry liability insurance when driving. Unfortunately, not all drivers uphold this responsibility, leaving victims of car accidents without any recourse following an accident.
If you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist, it can be difficult to know what to do next. However, there are pathways to recovery available even if the driver does not have insurance.
Understanding South Carolina Insurance Laws
Like most places in the United States, South Carolina is a fault insurance state. This means that a negligent driver must pay for any damages that the victims sustain in an accident.
To ensure that drivers can uphold this financial responsibility, South Carolina requires that all drivers carry the following minimums of liability insurance.
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person per accident caused by the policyholder
- $50,000 for total bodily injury or death in an accident caused by the policyholder
- $25,000 for property damage per accident caused by the policyholder
Motorists are also required to purchase uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. This insurance pays for a policyholder’s damages if he or she is in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or is involved in a hit and run. South Carolina motorists must carry UM coverage in an amount equal to their minimum required liability insurance.
Your Legal Options After an Uninsured Motorist Accident
After most South Carolina accidents, victims can recover compensation by filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. When the driver is uninsured, however, this option is not possible.
Instead, victims can file a claim under their UM coverage or pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court. Most claims begin in the insurance stage before escalating to a lawsuit if necessary. However, it is important to keep in mind that a person who is uninsured is unlikely to have the funds to pay for a personal injury settlement out of pocket.
To determine your optimal path to maximum recovery, it is important to consult with a South Carolina car accident attorney. Your lawyer can carefully evaluate your case and determine what option is right for you.
Steps to Take Immediately After Your Collision
After being involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your future case. It is very possible that the motorist may claim that you were at fault for the accident and he or she is therefore not liable for your damages.
To protect your rights, take the following steps to collect evidence and seek help.
- Call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement so that you can create a police report. This document will serve as valuable evidence in your case.
- Seek emergency medical care, even if you do not feel hurt. Save all of your medical records and make sure to receive follow-up care as necessary.
- If you are able, take photographs and videos of the accident scene for evidence.
- Briefly exchange contact and license information with the at-fault driver.
- If any witnesses saw the accident occur, ask for their contact information as well.
Once you receive the medical care that you need, contact a South Carolina car accident lawyer to represent your case. Your attorney can help you understand your legal options and pursue litigation against the driver responsible for your injuries. Speak to an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.