If you’re traveling on a South Dakota roadway and another vehicle hits you, the results can range from minor damage to utter disaster. You’ve probably heard stories about people causing motor vehicle accidents and then leaving the scene. In this state, such behavior is unlawful. Codified laws specifically state that a driver who is involved in a collision must remain at the scene, even if he or she hit a parked and empty vehicle or another object.
If you or anyone in your vehicle suffers injury when another driver has hit you, that driver is obligated to do several things. The more you know about state laws regarding motor vehicle collisions, the better able you might be to navigate the aftermath of an accident in which you’ve been involved.
A driver who has caused injury to others must render aid
No matter how cautious and alert you are at the wheel, a distracted, drunk or sleepy driver in your vicinity might cause a collision. If that happens, the person behind the wheel of the other car is not only obligated to remain at the scene, he or she must also render aid to the occupants of your vehicle. State-codified law 32.34-3 states that a driver in a collision that has resulted in injury or death to another person must render aid to those in need.
Such aid includes transporting a surviving victim for medical treatment, if needed. The law specifies that it must be apparent that medical treatment is necessary, or the victim must request the aid.
There must be an exchange of contact, vehicle and insurance information
The driver who hit you must provide you with all pertinent information regarding his or her name, address and phone number, etc., as well as the name and address of the owner of the vehicle and the license plate number. If you’re unable to communicate and there are no law enforcement officers present at the scene, the person in question may provide the information to the nearest agent duly authorized to receive the information, such as the local police department.
Violation of state laws may lead to criminal charges
If the driver who hit you violates codified state laws regarding a motor vehicle operator’s obligations following a collision, he or she may be charged with a criminal misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. It’s never a good idea to get into a confrontation with another driver at the scene of a collision. If you request information and the driver refuses to provide it, it’s best to let police handle the situation.
Navigating the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident
Depending on the severity of injury and other damages, the weeks following a South Dakota collision can be difficult and stressful. In addition to physical pain and discomfort, you’ll likely have to speak with police officers, insurance agents, doctors and others who are helping you navigate recovery. This can all amount to high levels of stress. You may also encounter financial distress in connection with the incident, from medical bills and other expenses.
Many recovering South Dakota accident victims seek restitution in court against those deemed responsible for their injuries, which can, at least, help alleviate the financial aspects of post-collision recovery if the court rules in their favor.