What to Do After a Hit and Run Car Accident in Michigan
April 16, 2019
Earlier this year, a hit-and-run driver struck an 83-year-old man in a wheelchair. The elderly man suffered serious injuries, and an aide who was helping him cross the street was also hurt. By the time police arrived, the driver had fled the scene. Unfortunately, a hit-and-run car accident in Michigan is all too common.
Despite the stiff penalties for leaving the scene of an accident, many drivers still choose to flee rather than act responsibly.
Here is what you should do (and not do) if you are involved in a hit-and-run car accident in Michigan.
What Michigan Law Says About Hit-and-Run Accidents
According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, a driver who has been involved in an accident must stop and contact the police. The driver should provide identifying information to a police officer and/or the other individuals involved in the collision. Furthermore, the law requires that the driver help any injured persons obtain medical assistance or transportation. Drivers may move their vehicles out of the road; however, they must remain nearby until police arrive.
Here are the legal penalties for drivers who leave the scene of a car accident in Michigan:
- If another vehicle was damaged, the driver may be fined up to $100 and/or imprisoned for up to 90 days.
- If the accident resulted in serious impairment of a bodily function or death, leaving the scene is considered a felony. The driver may be fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years.
- If the driver leaves the scene after causing an accident that results in death, it is also considered a felony. However, in this instance, the driver may be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 15 years.
What to Do (and Not Do) If You Are the Driver
- First of all, never leave the scene of the accident, regardless of who was at fault.
- If you or anyone else is injured, call for medical assistance.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver, but do not sign any papers.
- Do not discuss how the accident happened or who was at fault with anyone. This includes the other driver, their passengers, bystanders or police officers.
- Call a reputable car accident attorney as soon as possible.
What to Do If You Are the Victim of a Hit and Run Car Accident in Michigan
If you were injured by a hit and run driver, don’t despair. You may be entitled to Personal Injury Protection benefits under your own or your spouse’s Michigan no-fault policy.
Here are the steps you should take, even if the driver who hit you has left the scene:
- Call for help if you or anyone else was injured.
- Stay at the scene of the accident until police arrive.
- Do not sign any insurance papers, even if you were not at fault.
- If possible, obtain contact information from any witnesses who were present.
- Call an experienced accident lawyer immediately.
“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. If you are apprehended, which is very likely, the legal consequences can be severe. Instead, call the police and remain at the scene until they arrive.”
Auto accident law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.