A car accident, even a minor one, is a jarring experience. It is common to be disoriented and unsure of what to do first. Obviously, if anyone is seriously injured, calling for emergency medical assistance is the immediate priority, but many people are unsure about whether it is necessary to call the police. However, Michigan has specific statutes and procedures regarding when and how to report a crash, and failing to follow these rules can lead to problems when it comes to filing a claim. Here is what every driver should know about the importance of a police report in the event of a Detroit car accident.
According to Michigan law, motor vehicle accidents must be immediately reported to the police under the following conditions:
If you are unsure whether the damage to another vehicle or someone else’s property exceeds $1,000, it is best to report the accident.
While the law does not specify what “immediately” means, it is better to report an accident as soon as possible, preferably by calling the police from the scene of the crash.
Additionally, most insurance companies require a police report before paying No-Fault benefits or authorizing repairs to a damaged vehicle. Even if you were the victim of a hit-and-run driver, you will need to report the accident to the police to access uninsured motorists’ coverage.
Yes. In addition to the State of Michigan requirements for reporting accidents (death, injury or property damage exceeding $1,000), the City of Detroit requires drivers to report any accident where a vehicle “can no longer be driven in its usual manner.” This rule applies even if no one is injured and there is no major property damage.
Examples include a car that ends up stuck in a ditch or snow bank or a vehicle that cannot be driven because the crash caused the airbags to inflate.
Unless one of the above conditions exists (death, injury or property damage above $1,000), reporting an accident to the police is not a legal requirement. However, the law does require you to exchange information with the other driver(s) as well as anyone else involved in the accident such as a pedestrian. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers and/or email addresses and insurance companies with policy numbers.
It is still a good idea to report the accident to the local police in case you decide to file a claim later on.
Also, if there are witnesses, the scene of the accident is a good opportunity to get their contact information, especially if you were not at fault for the accident.
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The answer is an emphatic yes. A driver should never, under any circumstances, leave the scene of an accident without either calling the police or exchanging information with the other motorist(s).
Leaving a crash scene without taking one (or both) of those actions can result in a felony charge if someone was seriously injured or killed. If convicted, a driver may face up to 15 years in jail and/or a fine up to $10,000, depending on the severity of the injuries.
Even if no one was injured but the accident caused property damage exceeding $1,000, a driver who leaves the scene can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $100 and/or jailed for up to 90 days.
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Yes. While this is not required under Michigan law, it is important to report an accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. In fact, most insurers require a police report in order to authorize No-Fault benefits or vehicle repairs.
Police reports are also needed for drivers with uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as well as those seeking reimbursement from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP).
Some insurance companies require drivers to report accidents within 24 hours, so it is wise to check the terms of your policy to avoid missing these important deadlines. Because accidents are not restricted to business hours, most insurers have online accident reporting systems and/or 24-hour phone lines.
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Police reports can be obtained through the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Purchasing System (TCPS) for a $10 fee. You will need certain information such as the date of the accident and the name of at least one of the drivers. You may also be asked to furnish an incident number, which is usually provided by the police when they are called to the scene of a crash.
You will need a credit card to purchase a crash report as well as the ability to download the report from the website since the system does not use email, U.S. mail or other parcel delivery services.
You can also obtain a printed copy of an accident report by visiting the local police department in the precinct where the accident occurred.
We understand how a car accident can upend your life, especially when you are seriously hurt. When you hire us, we take care of every detail of your case so you can focus on recovering. Most importantly, we have the experience and resources to win the compensation you and your family deserve.
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