Leaving the scene of a car accident in Michigan is a crime, whether you are the at-fault party or the injured victim. Penalties for breaking the law could include driver’s license points, hefty fines and jail time.
Drivers may have a lot of questions about this law. For instance, what if it is unsafe to remain at the scene of a crash? If you are the victim and injured, can you still file a no-fault claim if the driver flees the scene? Do passengers have any responsibility after a crash?
At Jay Trucks, we have a team of legal professionals that is deeply committed to helping the injured in Michigan. We have extensive experience managing car crashes and other personal injury claims throughout the state. If you were injured in a crash you did not cause, we are ready to listen and help. Learn more about your legal options today. Your initial consultation is free, and there is no risk or obligation for this meeting.
Call 989-244-0356 for your FREE Case Review.
What is a Driver’s Responsibility After a Car Accident in Michigan?
Under state law, drivers who are involved in a crash are required to stay at the scene when there are property damages or any injuries, impairment of a body function, or death. After calling police to the scene, drivers must also provide information to the other party, including:
- Your name and address
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle registration number
- Name and address of the owner of the vehicle (if you do not own the car)
What Happens if You Leave the Scene of a Crash?
Both the at-fault party and the injured victim are required to remain at the scene of the crash. Whether or not you believe you share any fault for a crash, it is against the law to leave the scene in Michigan. Drivers who violate this law can be charged, regardless of who caused the crash.
If you leave the scene of a car accident that you caused, there are several penalties you could face:
- 6 points on your driver’s record
- $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail for property damage
- A fine of up to $1,000, one year in jail, or both if there are any injuries
- A fine of up to $5,000, five years in jail, or both for serious impairment of a body function or death
If the driver who leaves the scene also caused the crash, and the incident caused serious impairment of a body function and/or death, the penalties are severe. The violation becomes a felony charge with up to 15 years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, or both.
If a driver is convicted of any of these charges, his or her license may also be suspended.
What if a Driver Leaves the Scene and Comes Back?
Sometimes drivers leave the scene in a panic, but then realize they have a responsibility and come back. It is difficult to say what the legal implications may be, and each situation is different. For instance, if a driver leaves the scene, but then immediately returns and contacts the police. This scenario would likely have a much better outcome for the driver, than if he or she left and did not report the crash for days.
What if it is Unsafe to Remain at the Scene of a Crash?
This is a valid question, and there are a couple of scenarios that may make remaining at the scene unsafe.
The Crash Scene is in the Middle of Traffic
If your vehicle is in the way of traffic, and your vehicle is drivable, you can move your vehicle to a nearby area, such as a road shoulder.
What if it Seems Unsafe to Remain at the Scene
This is a tricky situation because it involves individual perception. However, if you feel unsafe because the area is dark and unfamiliar, or the other driver appears to be hostile, there are steps you can take. Note the location of the crash and, if you can, details about the other vehicle and driver. Then drive to a nearby gas station or well-lit parking area and pull over.
Call police immediately and provide both the location of the accident and where you moved the car.
What if There Are Passengers Involved in the Crash?
Passengers involved in a crash are not required to remain at the scene. However, if they are injured, they should seek medical care immediately. Taking this step helps to protect their health and also to link their injuries back to the crash if they later file a claim.
How Could Leaving the Scene Affect a Victim’s Ability to File a Claim?
If you are injured and the at-fault party leaves the scene, you will still be able to file your no-fault insurance claim. This means you will have coverage for your medical costs, lost wages and other benefits up to the limits of your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. If your medical costs exceed your PIP benefits, you may still have other options for recovering compensation. However, this is something you should discuss with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Injured in a Crash By a Driver Who Left the Scene? Call Our Law Firm for Help
At Jay Trucks, we understand that the last thing you need after being injured in a crash is trying to figure out how to file a claim. We have the resources and staff that can help you every step of the way. Our Grand Rapids-area car crash lawyers are prepared to fully investigate your accident and assess all your options for recovering compensation.
If you have been injured by a driver who left the scene of the crash, we encourage you to seek legal help immediately. You can contact our firm anytime, night or day, to set up a free initial case review. There is no cost or obligation after this meeting.
Millions Recovered. 989-244-0356