If you have ever had a car accident, even a minor one, you know how unnerving it can be. After a crash, most people are shaken up and unsure of what to do next. A common concern for drivers is whether to move their car or wait for the police.
Unfortunately, like many areas of the law, there is no universal rule that applies to every situation. Nevertheless, doing the wrong thing can have lasting consequences. Here is a guide to moving a vehicle safely and legally after a Detroit car accident.
The Michigan Vehicle Code contains specific rules for moving a car after a crash. While the law requires drivers to move their vehicles in certain situations, there are other circumstances where moving a car is illegal and could result in a traffic violation.
When to move a vehicle after an accident
The law requires a driver (or another occupant) to move a car out of the road under the following conditions:
If all of these conditions are met, the vehicle must be moved to a “safe refuge” such as a shoulder, emergency lane median or another spot away from the roadway. A driver who fails to do so may be subject to a traffic violation.
Recommended reading: The Most Common Car Accident Injuries And What To Do After A Crash
When NOT to move a vehicle after an accident
It is illegal to move a vehicle if the driver “knows or reasonably should know” that the accident resulted in the “serious impairment of a bodily function” or death of another person (or persons).
Additionally, do not move a car when any of the following conditions exist:
Recommended reading: 5 Common Mistakes People Make After A Detroit Traffic Accident
No, a driver should never leave an accident scene without permission from a law enforcement officer unless emergency medical treatment is needed. In fact, leaving an accident scene in Michigan is actually a criminal offense that can result in stiff penalties for a driver who violates this law.
Even if no one is injured, a driver who leaves the scene of an accident where property was damaged may be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $100.
If one or more people are injured, a driver who leaves the scene may be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to up to one year in jail and/or fined up to $1,000.
Finally, a driver who leaves a crash site where anyone was seriously hurt or killed may be charged with a felony that carries a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
However, Michigan law includes an exception if a driver believes it would be dangerous to remain at the accident site. In such situations, the driver may leave the scene but must call 911 or drive to nearest police station to report the accident without delay.
Recommended reading: How To Handle A Hit-and-Run Accident in Michigan
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, we can help. Our knowledgeable legal team knows what it takes to build a successful case and we will fight to win the compensation you and your family deserve.
Car accident law is complicated, but finding the right Detroit car accident lawyer is simple.
Get your case started today by clicking on the link below or calling 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation remote consultation from the safety of your home.
Get The Bernstein Advantage® today!
Free. Simple. Quick.