When someone gets into a car accident, they usually stop, move their car out of traffic, and get out to talk to the other driver or drivers involved. Then, they exchange information like their name, phone number, and insurance information to file a claim with their insurance company. They may even call the authorities to file a police report on the incident. Sometimes, however, when someone causes an auto accident, they simply drive away to avoid responsibility.
Failure to stop at the scene of an auto accident is a crime, regardless of how minor or severe the damages are. In this article, we’ll go through what to do in the event of a hit-and-run accident and review the Michigan laws that apply to hit-and-run drivers.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hit-and-run accident in Michigan, the skilled attorneys at Lipton Law are here to help. With an extensive history of trying personal injury cases and filing personal injury claims, we have the experience to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call (248) 557-1688 for a free consultation with a Michigan personal injury lawyer today.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident is when an at-fault driver, or the person who caused the accident, flees the scene of an accident without stopping to exchange information with the person they hit. Anyone involved in causing an accident is legally obligated to stop and give the other driver or drivers involved their personal information, their insurance information if they have it, and/or wait for law enforcement to arrive and file a police report. Leaving the scene of the crash before exchanging information or talking to the police is a crime and could cause the hit-and-run driver to face penalties like fines or even a prison sentence.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Collision in Michigan?
After a hit-and-run collision, there are several things you should do. First, if you or anyone else involved in the auto accident has been injured, you should seek medical care as soon as possible, especially if you or another person has sustained any severe injuries. Hit-and-run accidents can sometimes result in catastrophic injuries, and delaying medical treatment could make things worse than they already are.
Then, move your vehicle to a safe spot that doesn’t block traffic, so you can reasonably avoid another accident. If you are able, try and get the car’s license plate number so that the fleeing driver can be caught more easily. Next, call the police so that they can file a report on the incident.
While you wait for a police officer to arrive, begin talking to any witnesses and exchange contact information with them, like phone numbers. Law enforcement will also gather witness information to investigate and determine what happened. Also, take pictures of the damage to document the extent of the damages caused for insurance purposes.
After all of that, you should call a Michigan car accident lawyer to help you file a personal injury claim and recover compensation. If you have been a victim of a hit-and-run accident, call (248) 557-1688 today to talk to a member of the Lipton Law team.
How to Report a Michigan Hit-and-Run Accident to the Police
At the scene of a hit-and-run vehicle crash, someone should call the police. A witness or other person involved in the accident should call the authorities if the injured driver cannot. If anyone involved is seriously injured, they will most likely be questioned by police after they receive medical aid. Otherwise, the police will gather as much information at the scene as possible to write a police report on the incident.
They may ask victims or witnesses for the license plate number of the at-fault driver so they can issue a warrant for their arrest. If no one can remember the driver’s license plate, they may ask nearby businesses for any surveillance footage around the time of the accident.
Most Common Injuries from Hit and Run Crashes in Michigan
Personal injuries from car crashes can range in severity. Below are some of the most common injuries a hit-and-run incident can cause:
- Torn ligaments
- Sprained muscles
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Head injuries
Some of the more serious injuries someone can incur in a hit-and-run accident include spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries, which can lead to serious impairment or even permanent disability. In the unfortunate event of a hit-and-run accident resulting in death, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the other driver. Additionally, the driver at fault for the incident may face felony criminal charges if they are caught.
Are Hit and Runs Illegal in Michigan?
Yes, it is illegal to leave the scene of a car crash, which is more commonly known as a hit-and-run. Michigan Compiled Law section 257.618 requires any driver that knows or has reason to believe they have been involved in an accident to remain at the scene until they have completed the requirements of section 257.619. This section of Michigan law outlines what someone involved in an auto accident must complete.
These requirements state that anyone who causes an auto accident must give their name, address, vehicle registration number, and the name and address of the vehicle’s owner to a law enforcement officer at the scene, the individual who was struck, or any other involved parties. They must also present their driver’s license to any of those same people and must reasonably render aid to any injured individual to ensure they receive medical care.
If they do not complete these requirements, and the accident results in vehicle damage or personal injury, the hit-and-run driver could be charged with a misdemeanor. If found guilty, they may also face up to 90 days of jail time, a fine of up to $100, or both.
Can You Sue for Michigan Hit and Run Accidents?
Yes, you can sue a hit-and-run driver for damages to person and property. This can include medical bills if you suffered injury, lost wages from any missed work due to the accident, and compensation for pain and suffering. If you have been involved in a vehicle crash and the at-fault driver flees the accident scene, contact Lipton Law to review your legal options.
Who Is at Fault in a Michigan Hit and Run Collision?
In personal injury cases, someone is at-fault if they are directly responsible for causing the accident or injury due to their negligence. In a car accident, the at-fault driver would be the person who caused the accident by driving negligently. Leaving the scene of an accident doesn’t make someone any less at fault. In fact, as we already know, if the other driver involved in the hit-and-run is caught, they may be charged with a crime.
Compensation for Hit-and-Run Accidents in Michigan
After any car crash, the injured driver must report the accident to their insurance company in order to file an insurance claim. From there, the victim can receive compensation for medical bills, property damage (including damage to their vehicle or other property), lost wages, and other damages such as pain and suffering.
Under Michigan law, all drivers must have no-fault auto insurance, but there are a few kinds of optional insurance coverage plans to choose from. Depending on the auto insurance policy they have, a person may have more or less coverage for their damages.
Collision Insurance Coverage
Collision insurance coverage comes in a few levels: limited, standard, and broad form collision coverage. Many insurance policies involve standard collision coverage. Standard collision coverage ensures that if you are involved in a car accident, you will be responsible for paying your deductible, but then your insurance company will pay for the rest of the damages–regardless of whether or not you were at fault. They can cover damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage up to the policy limits.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Another form of optional coverage is uninsured motorist coverage, or UM coverage. Despite the fact that it is a criminal offense to drive without insurance, many people still drive without insurance coverage. If the person at-fault in your accident does not have insurance, you may not receive the full amount of compensation you are owed following a crash.
However, if you have UM coverage, and the fleeing driver does not have insurance, or their insurance company can’t pay enough to cover your injuries, your UM coverage would cover the remaining costs. An uninsured motorist claim can help you receive compensation in a regular crash or a hit-and-run accident.
Will I Get No-Fault Benefits After a Hit and Run Accident in Michigan?
Michigan law requires all drivers to purchase no-fault auto insurance. If someone has a no-fault insurance policy, they will receive personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, property protection (PPI) benefits, and residual liability benefits following a crash or hit and run. No-fault insurance allows those who have sustained injury as a result of an accident to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. No-fault insurance policies can even provide coverage to an at-fault driver.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Hit and Run Accidents in Michigan?
In Michigan, the statute of limitations on a hit-and-run accident is three years. This means a hit-and-run victim has three years from the time of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you are interested in filing a lawsuit, an experienced hit-and-run attorney can help protect your interests and hold those at fault financially responsible for their negligence.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Michigan Hit and Run Crash?
While anyone can file a personal injury claim on their own, hit-and-run accidents can be very confusing and can involve a lot of other factors that most car accident claims don’t have. If you or a loved one has experienced injury or death due to another driver’s negligence, it’s recommended that you hire a personal injury lawyer. An experienced car accident lawyer will understand the Michigan legal system and can help car crash victims file claims quickly and correctly, even in cases involving a hit and run.
In the event that the claim is disputed, a lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies for a favorable settlement offer. They can even gather evidence and contact witnesses to prove negligence in the event of a lawsuit. A good personal injury law firm will help you receive the best possible outcome, regardless of the circumstances.
Contact the Michigan Car Accident Lawyers at Lipton Law Today
Causing a car accident is bad enough, but leaving the scene of the accident without exchanging information is a criminal offense. Hit-and-run drivers should be held financially responsible for their actions. A good hit-and-run accident attorney will Investigate the circumstances of the crash, identify fault, gather evidence to prove fault, and help you file an insurance claim. Most importantly, they will fight for you to receive benefits equal to the extent of the damages incurred.
If you or a family member has been hurt in a hit-and-run crash, Lipton Law has you covered. At Lipton Law, we strive to give our clients the care and attention they deserve. Let us help you recover compensation. Call (248) 557-1688 or contact us through our online form and receive a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.