You never thought it would happen to you. Perhaps you were driving along, minding your business, when suddenly another driver hit your car and sped away. You’re left with a damaged vehicle and more questions than answers. As you deal with the aftermath of this shocking event, one of the many questions swirling in your mind might be, “When will I hear from the police?”
The Definition of a Hit-and-Run in South Carolina
In South Carolina, a hit-and-run, legally called leaving the scene of an accident, is a severe offense. Under state law, a hit-and-run occurs when a driver is involved in an accident that leads to property damage, vehicle damage, or bodily injury and leaves the scene without stopping to exchange information or offer assistance.
Importantly, this law applies to all drivers involved in an accident, regardless of whether they were responsible for causing it. After an accident, each driver must stop and provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number. Furthermore, when accidents result in crash injuries, everyone involved must offer reasonable help to injured parties. This could include taking steps to transport injured individuals to hospitals or making arrangements for such transportation if treatment is clearly necessary or requested by the injured person.
What Do Police Do in a Hit-and-Run?
Police often play an integral role following a hit-and-run accident, spearheading comprehensive investigations to identify responsible parties. Hit-and-run investigations begin with police arriving at the scene to evaluate the situation, gather evidence, and interview potential witnesses. There, they collect tangible evidence such as surveillance videos, photographs of the damages, debris from the accident, and remnants of offending vehicles that get left behind.
Additionally, the police will document the time, location, and any environmental conditions that could have contributed to the incident. Following this on-site investigation, responding officers typically generate accident reports that encapsulate all the facts and testimonies collected.
In some cases, the police might extend their investigative radius to nearby areas, seeking additional clues or witnesses that could lead them to the offender. If the police successfully identify a hit-and-run driver through these efforts, the police will seek them out for questioning and, if warranted, arrest them.
How Long Before Police Stop Investigating a Hit-and-Run?
The duration of a hit-and-run investigation is inherently variable, largely dependent on the unique circumstances and details of the case at hand. Some investigations might conclude within days, particularly when there is ample evidence or the offender surrenders voluntarily. In other instances, hit-and-run investigations could take several weeks or even months.
Factors that could lengthen the investigation process include a scarcity of evidence, an overwhelming caseload for the police department, or a particularly elusive offender.
In some situations, the police might have to prioritize other incidents, which could delay the investigation into your case. Furthermore, even if the investigation takes a long time, it’s important to remember that a given case isn’t necessarily closed. Sometimes, new information emerges even after months, which could lead to a case being reopened.
How a Hit-and-Run Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run, a knowledgeable accident lawyer can offer guidance and clarity on the legal options available to you. They can help by documenting your case, dealing with insurance companies, and filing claims for compensation on your behalf.
An attorney’s role also extends to demanding fair compensation for all your crash-related losses, including medical bills, property damage, lost income, and psychological distress. They know how to communicate and negotiate with insurance companies, which can be notoriously difficult regarding claim settlements.
Notably, a hit-and-run lawyer can also investigate the accident independently of the police. They have access to resources and experts who can analyze evidence, reconstruct the accident, and track down additional witnesses.
While the police primarily aim to identify and apprehend the offender, your lawyer focuses on strengthening your compensation claim. An independent investigation could uncover vital information even if the police have not identified the perpetrator, increasing the likelihood of securing rightful compensation for your losses.
Read more: What Car Accident Lawyers Do
Speak with a Hit-and-Run Attorney Now
Remember, legal support is essential after any accident, particularly a hit-and-run. At Goings Law Firm, LLC, we understand the emotional and financial toll a hit-and-run can take. Our experienced car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims like you demand the recoveries they deserve.