Penalties for drivers without auto insurance who flee a hit and run accident; crash victims entitled to No-Fault benefits
Hit-and-run auto accidents comprise about 10 percent of all auto accidents in Michigan, according to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts. In populated, busy cities like Detroit, where it’s estimated that as many as 50 percent of drivers do not have auto insurance, the numbers are even higher.
Here are 8 important things to know about hit and run auto accidents in Michigan:
1. To avoid being accused of a hit and run:
If you have been involved in an auto accident, then you must stop at the scene of the accident and remain at the scene. Here is a list of things to do at the scene of an accident.
2. Penalties for a hit and run accident resulting in death:
Hit and run drivers who have caused a car accident that results in the death of another individual are guilty of a felony and can be sent to prison for up to 15 years and/or fined up to $10,000. (MCL 257.617(3))
3. Penalties for a hit and run accident resulting in serious injury or death:
Hit and run drivers who have been involved in an accident that results in serious impairment of a body function or death are guilty of a felony and can be sent to prison for up to 5 years and/or fined up to $5,000. (MCL 257.617(2))
4. Penalties for a hit and run accident resulting in personal injury:
Hit and run drivers who have been involved in an accident that results in injury to any individual are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be sent to jail for up to 1 year and/or fined up to $1,000. (MCL 257.617a)
5. Penalties for a hit and run resulting in vehicle damage:
Hit and run drivers who have been in an accident that results in damage to a vehicle operated by or attended by “any individual” are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be sent to jail for up to 90 days and/or fined up to $100. (MCL 257.618)
6. Injured hit and run victims can collect Michigan No-Fault benefits:
Even if an at-fault hit and run driver is never caught, a victim can generally still collect Michigan No-Fault insurance benefits from his or her own auto insurance company. You can do so through your spouse’s No Fault insurer; a resident relative’s No Fault insurer; the No Fault insurer for the owner, registrant or driver of the vehicle the victim was occupying; or through the Michigan Assigned Claims Facility, now called the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility. (MCL 500.3114(1) and (4); 500.3115(1); 500.3172)
7. How hit and run injury victims can recover pain and suffering:
I write and speak often about the importance of having uninsured motorist coverage (UM). UM is additional coverage you can purchase and it protects you in case you’re injured in a crash with a driver who is uninsured, or in most cases, a hit and run accident.
If you are involved in a serious auto accident with a hit and run driver and the other driver is uninsured and/or drives away without leaving any identifying information, then uninsured motorist coverage is the ONLY way you will be able to recover financially for your injuries and your pain and suffering.
Because the law treats an unidentified at-fault hit and run driver as an “uninsured motorist,” a UM policy (subject to its policy limit) would see to it that the hit and run victim receives the pain and suffering compensation that the hit and run driver would have been obligated to pay had he or she been apprehended and identified.
8. Statute of limitations for hit and run claim:
With regard to the penalties for hit and run drivers, Michigan law allows hit and run prosecutions to be brought within six years after the offense is committed. (MCL 767.24(6))