South Carolina Hit-and-Run

If you’re involved in a hit-and-run in South Carolina, be sure to report the accident immediately and file an insurance claim as soon as possible.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Hit-and-runs in South Carolina can either be tried as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the extent of the damage done. Penalties range from as little as a $100 fine to as serious as 25 years in prison.
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run, try to identify the vehicle and report the crime to the police right away. You’ll also need to file an insurance claim if you have collision or
uninsured motorist coverage
on your car insurance policy. Check with your agent to find out.
Every state has laws against leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging contact and insurance information. Punishment for failing to do so varies by state.
If you’ve experienced a hit-and-run in South Carolina,
car insurance
is here to break down everything you need to know about handling it. We'll cover what counts as a hit-and-run, how to file an insurance claim, what to do if you’ve committed a hit-and-run yourself, and even how to find cheap
car insurance in South Carolina
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What is a hit-and-run? 

Hit-and-runs are a car accident in which a driver hits a person, object, or vehicle and flees the scene without speaking to the other parties involved. In the event of an accident or collision, it’s the law to stop and provide your personal and insurance information so that the victim is able to file a claim. 
Regardless of who is at fault, all parties must remain at the scene of the accident. Even if you weren’t the offender, you’re still guilty of a hit-and-run if you leave.

What happens if you commit a hit-and-run in South Carolina?

Car accidents are upsetting, so it can be tempting to panic and drive away—but you should never leave the scene of an accident. Driving away without first exchanging information with the other driver(s) could put you in serious legal and financial trouble.

Is a hit-and-run a felony in South Carolina? 

In South Carolina, a hit-and-run can be considered a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances. If the accident caused only property damage or minor injuries, it counts as a misdemeanor. However, if the hit-and-run resulted in serious injuries or death, it will count as a felony.

What is the punishment for a hit-and-run in South Carolina? 

In South Carolina, penalties for hit-and-runs depend on the amount of damage caused by the accident. If the only damage was sustained by a vehicle or property, the maximum punishment is a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to a year.
If someone was injured, however, the fine moves up to a maximum of $5,000. A serious injury—one that carries the risk of death, causes disfigurement, or results in loss of bodily function—comes with a penalty of $5,000 to $10,000 and maximum imprisonment of 10 years, which moves up to $25,000 and 25 years if the accident causes a death.
Here’s a look at all of the possible punishments for a hit-and-run in South Carolina:
Result of accident
Possible punishment
Roadside damage only (mailbox, fence, etc.)
Maximum fine of $100
Maximum imprisonment of 30 days
Damage to unattended vehicle
Max. fine of $100
Max. imprisonment of 30 days
Damage to attended vehicle
Max. fine of $5,000
Max. imprisonment of one year
Minor injuries
Max. fine of $5,000
Max. imprisonment of one year
Serious injury
Max. fine of $10,000
Max. imprisonment of 10 years
Max. fine of $25,000
Max. imprisonment of 25 years
Any of these penalties could amount to fines and/or imprisonment, depending on the judge presiding over the case. Most of these outcomes also include the risk of having your license revoked or suspended

How to avoid a hit-and-run charge

South Carolina Code 56-5-1230 states that in any accident that results in damage, injury, or death, any driver involved must give their name and address. They must also present their
vehicle registration
number and driver’s license if the other party requests it. This law also requires the driver to assist any injured person, which could include making arrangements to get them to a hospital. 
If the driver hits an object or unattended vehicle, they must stop and immediately find the owner to notify them to provide their information. If you can’t find the owner of the unattended vehicle, you must leave a written notice in a conspicuous place giving your name, address, and what happened. 

What should I do if I experience a hit-and-run in South Carolina? 

If you’re ever the victim of a hit-and-run in South Carolina, it’s important to stay calm, collect as much information as you can, and report the crime to the police immediately. 

At the scene

It may be tempting, but you must never try to follow the car. You’ll first need to make sure everyone in your vehicle is safe and uninjured, then move your car away from any traffic lanes and into a safe area. Call 911 immediately for anyone needing medical attention, as well as to summon the police to the scene. 
Even if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you need to try and note as much of the following information as possible before leaving the scene: 
  • The other car’s make, model, color, and body style
  • The license plate number of the other vehicle
  • The other driver’s appearance
  • The circumstances of the accident
  • The direction the car was headed when it left the scene
  • Any unique markers on the other car, like dents or bumper stickers
If there are any witnesses, be sure to talk to them to gather any details they may have noticed. It’s also a good idea to examine the scene for extra evidence and take photos to thoroughly document what happened.

After you leave the scene

The officer on the scene should file a police report, which will increase the possibility of identifying the other driver. This report will also serve as evidence for your insurance claim, which you should file within 24 hours of a hit-and-run. 
If the police are able to find the other driver, their liability insurance should cover any damage you incurred from the accident. Your insurance company should help facilitate the process as needed. 
If the other driver cannot be identified, however, insurance claims become more difficult. If you carry only liability insurance, you’ll have to pay for the damage out of pocket. But you may be covered if you have
collision insurance
, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage,
medical payments coverage (MedPay)
, or
personal injury protection

What insurance covers a hit-and-run?

Insurance type
Will it cover a hit-and-run?
Collision coverage
Might need to pay a deductible first
Uninsured motorist coverage
Your insurance company can tell you if your policy covers hit-and-runs
Medical payments (MedPay) coverage
Will only cover what health insurance doesn’t already; you may need to pay deductible
Personal injury protection (PIP)
Can cover lost income and other expenses that result from a collision

How to find affordable insurance for collisions and more 

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If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, your insurance should not be affected, even if you’re the one filing the claim. Your insurance may not even require you to pay the deductible. However, if you’ve committed a hit-and-run, you can expect your insurance prices to skyrocket since you’ve been charged with a major violation.
Hit-and-runs are serious charges. If you’re guilty of committing a hit-and-run, it’s a good idea to seek legal counsel.
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