What to Do After a Hit-And-Run Car Accident
Car accidents are always extremely frustrating to deal with, but they become even more upsetting when the other driver leaves the scene of the accident without even stopping. The callous disregard people can have for the safety of others is truly shocking. But what can you do if your car is hit by a hit-and-run driver?
Michigan Law & Hit-And-Run Accidents
Section 257.618 of the Michigan Vehicle Code outlines what drivers need to do at the scene of a car accident, stating:
(1) The driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he has been involved in an accident upon public or private property that is open to travel by the public shall immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall remain there until the requirements of section 619 are fulfilled or immediately report the accident to the nearest or most convenient police agency or officer to fulfill the requirements of section 619(a) and (b) if there is a reasonable and honest belief that remaining at the scene will result in further harm. The stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
(2) If an individual violates the requirements of subsection (1) and the accident results in damage to a vehicle operated by or attended by any individual, the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $100.00, or both.
Section 257.619 states the following:
The driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he or she has been involved in an accident with an individual or with another vehicle that is operated or attended by another individual shall do all of the following:
(a) Give his or her name and address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is operating, including the name and address of the owner, to a police officer, the individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the vehicle with which he or she has collided.
(b) Exhibit his or her operator’s or chauffeur’s license to a police officer, individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the vehicle with which he or she has collided.
(c) Render to any individual injured in the accident reasonable assistance in securing medical aid or arrange for or provide transportation to any injured individual.
Steps to Take After a Hit-And-Run
First and foremost, if you or a passenger in your car is injured, call for medical assistance right away. Also, do not try to pursue the driver yourself. Leave it to police officers to find the at-fault driver.
If you were in the car at the time of the crash or witnessed it, try to note any details you possibly can about the car that left the scene. This can include the color of the car, the make and model, license plate number, other distinguishing features on the vehicle like bumper stickers. It also helps to note which direction the driver was heading. A physical description of the driver can also be helpful, if you’re able to see the driver.
Did anybody else witness the crash? If so, get their names and contact information. It will be helpful to have that information if police officers need it for their investigation and if you need to file a lawsuit later on.
You will also need to report the accident to the police and to your auto insurance company. It’s very important to do this as quickly as possible to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines your insurance company may have.
Auto Insurance & Hit-And-Run Accidents
Since Michigan is a no-fault state, people involved in car accidents make claims for damages through their own insurance company regardless of whether or not they were at fault. This is true for hit-and-run accidents as well. However, there is an exception if your car was parked at the time of the accident. In that case, you can make an insurance claim against the at-fault driver if they can be located.
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run car accident, various parts of your policy will be able to help cover your damages. If injuries are involved, your PIP coverage will help cover your medical expenses. If your policy includes collision coverage and/or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, those will be able to cover damage to your car or other property.
Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run, be sure to contact a car accident lawyer for help. They’ll be able to help make sure your case is handled correctly, help get the evidence that you need, and work to get you the justice you deserve. At Scott Goodwin Law, we’re very experienced in helping the victims of car accidents in the state of Michigan. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.