Being injured in a car accident is a harrowing experience under any circumstances. But when you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver, the trauma is compounded. You may be worried about who will be liable for your medical bills and other damages. Despite the strict penalties for leaving the scene of an accident, many drivers still choose to flee, even though most are eventually identified and apprehended. Here’s what every motorist should know about hit-and-run accident laws in Michigan.
Yes. Even if no one is injured, it is a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident where someone was injured or property was damaged.
Here are the legal penalties for drivers who leave the scene of a car accident in Michigan:
However, this depends on the extent of the injuries. In an accident where someone is seriously injured, the driver may be charged with a felony.
Michigan law requires that all vehicles be covered by a No-Fault insurance policy. This means that each driver seeks reimbursement from their own insurer for medical expenses, wage loss benefits, replacement services, and damage to other people’s property – regardless of who was at fault. Additionally, since July 1, 2020, reimbursement of medical bills is limited to the amount of Personal Injury Protection medical benefits selected by the policyholder.
No-Fault insurance does not cover repairs to your own vehicle, unless you have specific collision coverage. If so, your deductible may be waived if the damage was caused by someone else, including a hit-and-run driver. However, most insurance companies require a police report of the incident. Therefore, you should always call the police if your car is damaged by someone else, even if the other driver is unknown.
Recommended reading: What Every Michigan Driver Should Know about the New No-Fault Insurance Law
If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, here are the steps you should take, even if the driver who hit you has left the scene:
First, you should call an ambulance if anyone needs immediate medical care. Next, call the police and stay at the scene until they arrive. As detailed above, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident, whether or not anyone is injured. Drivers who fail to comply with these laws risk facing stiff criminal penalties, especially if someone is injured.
You should also contact a qualified accident attorney as soon as possible, even if you think you were at fault.
“Many drivers panic and flee the scene after causing an accident,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “This is never a good idea. You will probably be apprehended, and the legal consequences for hit-and-run drivers are severe. Instead, call the police and remain at the scene until they arrive.”
If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, we can help. Our knowledgeable legal team knows what it takes to win your case, and we have the expertise and resources to win the compensation you deserve.
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