What To Do After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver in South Carolina

As noted in figures released by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2023, South Carolina ranks among the top ten states with the highest rates of alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes. If a drunk driver hit you or a loved one in the Palmetto State, the experienced vehicle accident team at Jordan Law Center in Greenville can help. Our attorneys have the seasoned skills needed to pursue the optimal amount of compensation for the harm caused.

What To Do at the Crash Scene After Getting Hit by a Drunk Driver

Although a knowledgeable vehicle accident attorney will know what steps to take when gathering evidence for a DUI-related case, there are things you could do at the accident scene or shortly after that can help win your case.

Call 911 and then wait for the police to arrive

When injuries occur, South Carolina’s laws require you not to leave the crash scene before local law enforcement arrives. If possible, get your vehicle off the road or over to a safe spot and keep your hazard lights flashing. Leaving the accident scene could lead to serious consequences even if you were hit by a drunk driver who drove off after crashing into your vehicle.

Determine any injuries that may have occurred and alert the emergency medical services team when they arrive.

When the police arrive, get the badge number and name of the officer responding to the crash.

Gather as much information as possible while at the crash scene

In addition to the other driver’s vehicle registration, driver’s license and insurance information, use your cell phone to take pictures of all involved vehicles. It could prove helpful in the follow-up investigation to have pictures showing the road conditions and the relative positioning of the vehicles involved.

If there are eyewitnesses, ask them if they agree to give you their contact information. Their testimonies could help prove you were not at fault for causing the crash and that you were hit by a drunk driver.

If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident, don’t try and chase after the fleeing vehicle. You may have been hit by a DUI driver who is attempting to escape punishment. Leave it to local law enforcement to catch the unlawful driver. Try to get a picture of the vehicle on your cellphone. A license plate number could be beneficial in finding the driver.

Seek Medical Attention Even if You Only Have Minor Injuries

Certain types of injuries may not reveal themselves by immediately showing symptoms. Seeking medical attention after getting hit by a drunk driver can evaluate whether you have a latent or delayed injury that may not show until days or weeks later. Delayed injuries could include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Pinched nerves
  • Internal organ or soft tissue injuries
  • Blood clots, which could break loose and cause a pulmonary embolism

Follow your doctor’s advice and maintain a daily recovery journal if it takes some time to return to your normal activities. The South Carolina drunk driver who caused your injuries could be held responsible for your lost time from work and any related missing income. You may also be able to obtain compensation for the pain and suffering you endured.

To receive the best settlement, it is best not to discuss anything with an insurance carrier until you consult a vehicle accident attorney. Insurance companies seek to keep costs down when paying out injury and damage claims. An experienced vehicle accident attorney will know how to negotiate a settlement amount that matches the full extent of your injuries.

Things To Consider After an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver

The investigating officer’s accident report may not serve as a reliable form of evidence when you pursue a personal injury claim after a drunk driver hit you. The crash scene report may note the responding officer’s observations, but an insurance company may dispute them as opinions rather than facts. However, the evidence collected through a skilled accident attorney’s investigation could tip the scales against an insurance carrier’s contradictory arguments.

Because South Carolina follows the modified comparative negligence system, the degree of fault you may have contributed to the accident could reduce your settlement claim. If you were found to have contributed to the crash by more than 50%, you may not obtain any compensation at all. The persuasive evidence presented by a resourceful vehicle accident attorney could make a considerable difference in the outcome of your case.

Why I Need To Take Action if Drunk Driving Is Illegal

A charge and successful DUI conviction under South Carolina’s criminal laws do not guarantee your ability to receive compensation for the harm caused by getting hit by a drunk driver. Your success in pursuing compensation related to a vehicle crash is a matter for the civil court system to resolve, not the criminal law system. It’s possible to obtain damages and injury compensation in a drunk-driver case even if the at-fault motorist is acquitted of the criminal DUI charges.

An important distinction exists between the way criminal and civil cases are decided. A civil case requires a much lower standard of proof. A criminal conviction requires proof of guilt that is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but winning a civil case may only require at least a more-than-50% likelihood that the defendant was at fault in causing harm.

If You Were Hit by a Drunk Driver, Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer

It’s not uncommon to experience uncertainty if an insurance company contacts you with a quick settlement offer for the harm caused by their DUI driver. However, you could be giving up the more realistic compensation your injuries deserve.

If you were hit by a drunk driver, talk to our vehicle accident team at Jordan Law Center. We’ll outline your options in a no-fee case consultation and tell you what your personal injury claim is worth.

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