Uninsured Motorist Provisions and “John Doe” | Charleston Personal Injury Lawyers
An unusual “hit and run” incident made headlines in Jasper County earlier this month when an unknown SUV caused a Ridgeland Police vehicle to run off the road and collide with a tree. The driver of the SUV left the scene and was therefore unidentifiable once the incident had been reported. The South Carolina Highway Patrol is currently investigating.
What makes this story interesting is that there was no “hit” in this “hit and run.” There was no actual collision between the SUV and the police car but the SUV is still thought to be the cause of injury for the police vehicle occupants. Click here to read more details on story and the pending investigation.
Collisions like this happen every day, and they cause victims to question who can be held accountable for their injuries. Luckily, in the state of South Carolina, if an unknown driver (“John Doe”) has caused an accident resulting in injury and subsequently left the scene, there may still be insurance coverage available for the victim’s injuries.
The applicable S.C. statute allows recovery under an uninsured motorist provision for two separate types of collisions caused by an unknown driver. The first type of collision is one resulting from contact with the now unknown automobile. To obtain coverage under an uninsured motorist provision in this circumstance, a claimant will need to prove (1) that the accident was reported to authorities within a reasonable time after its occurrence (2) injury was caused by the contact with the unknown vehicle and (3) failure to identify the other vehicle or other driver was not a result of negligence.
In the second instance, which addresses collisions like the Ridgeland Police incident above, the statute will allow a claimant to recover under the same uninsured motorist provision even if there is no contact with the unknown vehicle. The first and third requirements still apply, but in place of the contact requirement, a signed affidavit from a witness attesting to the truth and facts of the accident may be sufficient. You can read the applicable statute(s) by clicking here.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile collision and need information on insurance coverage and the options available to you, contact Miller|Conway, Charleston Personal Injury Lawyers, immediately to set up a consultation. You can also like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, or visit the firm’s website for more information.