Getting in a car accident can be frightening, emotional, and financially burdensome. The first thing most people do (or should do) when they get in an accident is exchange insurance information. Unfortunately, many people in South Carolina do not carry even the minimum vehicle coverage that they are required to by law, which may have detrimental financial consequences in the event they are in an accident that causes damage or personal injury to another.
South Carolina Vehicle Insurance Minimum Requirements
According to the South Carolina Department of Insurance, registered owners of vehicles are required to carry at a minimum three categories of insurance:
- Bodily injury liability insurance;
- Property damage liability insurance; and
- Uninsured motorist coverage.
These insurance categories require, respectively, $25,000 per person for bodily injury ($50,000 maximum for all persons in one accident), $25,000 for all property damage in one accident, and a $200 deductible for uninsured motorist coverage. Most people that actually do carry insurance carry above what is minimally required—a sure way to protect yourself and your passengers from financial turbulence after an accident.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists
Uninsured motorist coverage, however, is perhaps the most important of all types of vehicle insurance. Uninsured or underinsured motorist claims occur when a person is hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, often the result of hit-and-run accidents which can have both civil and criminal penalties associated. With thousands of South Carolinians failing to carry the minimum insurance required by law, you are at risk if you do not have the insurance yourself. South Carolina is one of few states that actually requires uninsured motorist coverage, which will be beneficial to you if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. An uninsured driver is one that does not carry any insurance at all; an underinsured driver is one that does not carry the minimum amount of insurance required by law, or whose coverage will not cover the expenses incurred in the accident that they caused.
Failing to carry the minimum amount of insurance can cost even a first offender a fine of up to $200 or a 30-day sentence in jail. This is in addition to a suspended license and a reinstatement fee, according to the Consumer Federation of America. Local authorities caught over 246,000 drivers unlawfully on the roads in 2013 alone, and this number has been escalating since 2011. Note also that even if you do carry the proper amount of insurance, not having your policy information on hand at the time of an accident or a traffic stop can lead to severe fines. Additionally, South Carolina officials implemented a call center to enable those in accidents with uninsured drivers an opportunity to report the uninsured driver for failure to comply with the law.
Columbia, South Carolina Uninsured Motorist Auto Accident Attorneys
If you or anyone you know has been injured in an auto accident, you deserve compensation regardless of the status of the driver that is responsible for the accident. At Solomon Law Group, our knowledgeable uninsured and uninsured accident attorneys will work with insurance companies, the parties responsible, and the courts to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation that you are entitled to by law. We are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for your unique set of circumstances, and are always available to help inform you of your legal rights and help you navigate the legal process. Contact our Columbia-based offices today.