In South Dakota, there are dozens of laws that apply to motor vehicles and the people that operate them. You have to carry insurance and register your vehicle. You need to abide by traffic signs and follow state laws to help minimize the chance of a collision occurring.
If a crash does occur, state law generally requires that you stop to report the incident. Drivers have an obligation to stop after they crash with a stationary vehicle where no one is present and also after any crash that likely caused injury or significant property damage for others.
Unfortunately, just like there are people who will drive all drunk and fail to use their turn signals, there are also people who will drive off immediately after a car crash without checking on the other people involved. What happens to you after a hit-and-run crash?
You may rely on help from the police
Drivers in South Dakota typically depend on the insurance carried by the person who hits them after a crash. If you need to fix your vehicle or you need the full coverage provided by car insurance to pay for your medical costs, having the other driver flee the scene of the crash puts you at a disadvantage.
Unless you carry extra coverage on your own policy, you may not be able to file an insurance claim. Instead, what you will need is for the police to thoroughly investigate the situation and identify the other driver.
The more significant the crash, the more likely the police are to take the investigation seriously. If you suffered noteworthy injuries, for example, the other driver could face a felony charge, which may motivate officers to investigate more thoroughly. If police can locate the other driver, then you will be in a position to either make a claim against their insurance or take them to civil court, depending on the circumstances.
How can you protect yourself?
The best way to reduce your chances of suffering personal losses because of a hit-and-run crash is to carry uninsured motorist coverage. Although making a claim against your own policy isn’t ideal, it is certainly better than having no form of compensation available whatsoever.
In some cases, you may also require legal support when dealing with the police and encouraging an investigation. Having the right assistance can make a major difference for those trying to deal with the fallout of a hit-and-run car crash.