Leaving the Scene of an Accident
In the state of Michigan, driving is a privilege, not a right. Drivers must meet certain requirements and fulfill specific responsibilities to be allowed the privilege to operate a vehicle legally.
One of those responsibilities is an expectation that if you are involved in an accident, you will stop when it is safe to pull over and exchange relevant information with any other drivers involved in the car accident.
No matter how big or small, if you flee the scene of a car accident in Detroit, you could face hit and run charges, which carry heavy criminal penalties under Michigan state law.
What Information Should I Provide?
In this case, relevant information includes your address, name, and vehicle registration, along with your insurance information, the address of the vehicle’s owner, and your complete driver’s license number.
In the case of any injuries, it is your obligation to contact the proper authorities and assist in any way you can. At the same time, you wait for emergency response vehicles and the local police to arrive.
Even if you are not at fault, leaving the scene of an accident can get you slapped with criminal charges, nonetheless.
If you damage any property, even an unattended car, you must inform the owner of the property. If you cannot locate them, you must inform the authorities of the damage.
You’ve Been Hit By Another Driver, And Now They’ve Fled
If you find yourself a victim of a hit and run, make sure you don’t leave the scene of the crime. Instead, remain there until the authorities arrive, give a statement, and file a police report on the car accident. Notify your insurance provider of the incident as well.
Do not follow the driver! This could be extremely dangerous. Instead, try and find anyone who witnessed the car accident that can add details to the eventual police report on the incident.
Gather as much information as you can, like the time of the accident, the other license plate number, what direction they drove off in, the make model and color of the car, and any description of the damage the other vehicle might have.
As the victim of a hit-and-run car accident, you might feel helpless and worried about your future. The medical bills and the pain and suffering (not to mention the hassle of insurance and auto repairs) can really upend your life.
Meanwhile, it might feel like the perpetrator is getting off scot-free, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Luckily for you, there are people who can help you get justice for what’s happened to you. Hiring a personal injury lawyer could be the key to reassembling the scattered pieces of your life after a Detroit hit and run car accident.
Experienced law firms use Michigan’s No-Fault law, which covers things like personal injury protection (PIP), personal property protection (PPI), and residual liability insurance.
Personal injury protection can cover medical costs, lost wages and can even provide value for unexpected things you can’t do because of injury, like household chores.
There are some exceptions, though, and a personal injury lawyer would be your best bet to getting these benefits and making the best of a bad situation.
Though it can sometimes be impossible to locate a driver who has fled from the car accident scene in Detroit, you might still be able to get compensation for the injuries and damages sustained.
To do this, you’ll have to find an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer to show you the route you should take. Then, once you hire a capable law firm, they can open an “uninsured motorist” claim on your behalf.
A UM claim is a specific kind of claim you make to an insurance company when you have been injured in a Michigan car crash, and the at-fault party cannot be identified. This claim can get you the compensation you deserve, even if the driver and/or car that hit you is uninsured.
What Should You Do If You have Been Accused of a Hit and Run?
Because of the severe nature of these types of allegations, it is imperative that you hire a criminal defense attorney to represent your case in a court of law.
Criminal defense attorneys can help you better understand your charges, the state laws involved, and what you can do to build a viable defense strategy. Without that help, you can face serious charges and fines.
The Consequences of Fleeing the Scene in Detroit
If you leave the car accident scene after damaging a vehicle, you could face a misdemeanor charge. This charge includes a fine of up to $100, up to 90 days in jail, or both. You could also potentially have six points added to your Michigan driving record.
Let’s say you leave the scene of a car accident where you caused another person personal injuries. It is also a misdemeanor charge, but it can be punishable with a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. Also, you will have six points added to your Michigan driving record, along with a license suspension of 90 days.
If you leave the scene of an accident that caused someone serious impairment of body function, the charge bumps up to a felony with a $5,000 fine, up to five years in state prison, or both. Six points could be added to your driving record, and your license could be suspended for a year.
Finally, if you leave the scene of a car accident where someone has died you can face a fine of up to $10,000, up to 15 years in state prison, or both. Six points will be added to your license as well, but in this case, your license will also be revoked, so that aspect isn’t as important, relatively speaking.
In Detroit, even if you simply fail to provide the correct information to the police or the other driver involved in the car accident, you can face a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100 or up to 90 days in jail. This also applies to drivers who do not provide reasonable medical assistance to anyone injured in the accident.
The Hard Truth
As long as there are cars and drivers on the roads of Detroit, we will continue to experience hit-and-run car accidents.
Sadly, it’s just a fact of life. But don’t let fear of a hit and run paralyze you. If you’re ever unlucky enough to be the victim of a hit-and-run, you can rest easy knowing that there are lawyers who will fight to help you regain control of your life.
Have You or a Loved One Been Involved in a Car Accident in Michigan?
The law is confusing, the stakes are high, and every case is different, so it doesn’t hurt to call a Michigan car accident injury lawyer immediately after a crash. And when it comes to obtaining uninsured motorist benefits, Lee Steinberg Law Firm has helped motorists, passengers, and pedestrians all over Michigan collect millions. So please call to speak to an experienced Michigan accident attorney at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) as soon as you are ready. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your case.