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Leaving the scene of a car accident you caused in South Dakota is considered a hit-and-run. A hit-and-run is taken seriously and can even be considered a felony if serious death or injury occurs. Following a hit-and-run, you could face consequences involving fines, possible license suspension, an increase in auto insurance rates and possibly jail time. Bankrate’s team of insurance experts can help you understand the severity of hit-and-runs in South Dakota and how to respond if you are the victim of one.
Hit-and-runs in South Dakota
A hit-and-run accident is one where the at-fault driver leaves without stopping at the accident site to determine if there are injuries and exchange information. Leaving the scene of a South Dakota car accident is illegal and is a felony if the accident results in serious injury or death.
The hit-and-run South Dakota statute also states that any accident that results in death, injury or more than $1,000 worth of property damage must be reported to the police. Even if the damage is minor, a police report is important to have if you plan to file a claim with your insurance company. If the other driver is not found after a South Dakota hit-and-run, you may need to make a claim with your own company.
South Dakota hit-and-run laws
South Dakota’s hit-and-run law shows that hit-and-run accidents are taken seriously. A hit-and-run in South Dakota leaves you open to the following legal consequences:
- If there is a death or injury: You could be charged with a class 6 felony and face a fine of $2,000 and/or two years in prison.
- If there is damage to a vehicle or property: You could be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor and face a fine of no more than $2,000 and/or no more than one year in prison.
- If there is damage to an unattended (i.e., parked) vehicle or property: You could be charged with a class two misdemeanor and face a fine of no more than $500 and/or no more than 30 days in prison.
The legal penalties are not the whole story. You will also likely face a significant increase in your car insurance premium. Unfortunately, you may even see an increase in your premium if you are the victim of a hit-and-run unless you have a rate guarantee on your policy.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in South Dakota
The average cost of a full coverage insurance policy including collision and comprehensive coverage is $1,553 per year for someone with a clean driving record in South Dakota. Once you are convicted of a traffic violation or are involved in an accident, your insurable risk level increases, causing most insurance companies to raise your rates. After a standard at-fault accident in South Dakota, premiums increase 32 percent on average. If you are found to be at fault in a hit-and-run in South Dakota, you could see a steeper premium increase.
5 things to do after a hit-and-run in South Dakota
You may be asking, what to do in South Dakota after a hit-and-run? If you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver, you may be shaken up and unsure of what comes next. If you are not injured, here are some helpful steps you can take.
- Be sure you’re safe. If it’s driveable, get your car off the road and away from traffic. Be very careful when opening your car door and getting out so that you’re not at risk of being hit. Check to be sure your passengers are okay and not injured. If anyone is hurt, even if the injury seems minor, call for medical assistance.
- Call the police. Even if no one is hurt and there seems to be a minimum amount of property damage, a police report will be vital when filing a claim. The police may be able to also help you find the at-fault driver. Share any information you might have noticed about the car’s make and model or license plate number.
- Document the scene. While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, if you can do so safely, take photos of the location, your car’s damage and anything else that helps showcase the incident. Note the time of day, weather, traffic level and any other factors that are pertinent to the accident.
- Find witnesses. If anyone stopped to help or pedestrians or other drivers saw the accident, get their contact information if they are willing to give it. Ask them to stay and talk to the police as well.
- Contact your insurer. Contact your insurer as soon as you can — within a few hours of potentially filing a report — if possible. Although many insurance companies allow you to file a claim online, consider calling your agent if you have questions or want to review your coverage.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run in South Dakota?
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run in South Dakota, car insurance might be at the top of your mind. If the police can find the other driver, their policy’s liability coverage should pay for your damage or injuries. But what if they have no insurance or are never found? A few types of coverage may help you with the costs if the other party’s car insurance is not covering the expenses related to the accident.
If you have a full coverage policy, you should have collision insurance, which covers damage to your car in an accident and can be used for repair costs up to your policy limits. There may be a hit-and-run deductible whenever you use your collision insurance, generally ranging from $250 up to $1,000, depending on what you chose.
South Dakota personal injury laws also offer optional uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), which can, in some cases, be used when the driver of a hit-and-run cannot be found. Uninsured and underinsured motorist car insurance typically covers medical costs, lost wages, vehicle repairs and more up to certain limits.
Finally, if you have medical payments coverage, this optional insurance type would help pay for medical bills or funeral costs if necessary, regardless of fault. It also covers costs if you are a pedestrian hit by a car.
Frequently asked questions
The average annual cost for full coverage car insurance in South Dakota is $1,553, considerably below the national average of $2,014. Your rate will most likely be different, as it is based on your personal and vehicle factors, such as vehicle make and model, where it is garaged and its age.
There is no such thing as ‘hit-and-run’ car insurance, although there are coverage types that can help pay for expenses after a hit-and-run accident. That said, the best car insurance for you may be different from the best car insurance for somebody else. Most insurance experts recommend that you get quotes for the same coverage options from several different insurance companies to find the best company for you. Bankrate’s editorial team has done some research on dozens of car insurance companies, and our picks for the best car insurance may at least give you a good place to narrow your search.
That depends on the gravity of the accident. A simple fender-bender is likely to be classified as a misdemeanor, but an accident that results in death or serious injury could be considered a class 6 felony, and you may face fines and prison time. If you have been involved in a hit-and-run, you may want to seek legal assistance.
In South Dakota, a hit-and-run may be considered a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the accident, and may stay on your driving record for up to 10 years.