It still surprises me how often this happens: someone hits a parked car in Michigan, and then just drives off without leaving a note or any contact information. Unfortunately, it raises the question of what exactly you should do if this scenario occurs. What our attorneys tell people is that it is very important to call the police immediately and, if possible, to get as much information as possible about the driver who crashed into your vehicle and his or her auto insurance company.
Depending on how serious the vehicle damage is to your vehicle, the police may or may not come out. In some cities, like Detroit, the police do not ordinarily come. But you can always file a police report to document the accident. If you witnessed the crash, this allows you to include your version of the crash. If there are eyewitnesses, these can be shared with the police and added to the police report. If you spoke with the driver who crashed into your vehicle, it can also include any incriminating statements the other driver made to you for why he or she wasn’t paying attention and why they crashed into your vehicle.
In my blog post, “Parking Lot Accident Laws in Michigan: What You Need To Know,” I talk about what people should do if they suffer personal injuries in a parking lot accident.
Someone hit my parked car, what do I do?
If someone hit your parked car in Michigan you need to call the police to report the accident and document the damage to your vehicle. If possible, get the at-fault driver’s name, address, e-mail, phone and auto insurance information. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the positioning of the vehicles as well as the vehicle damage. Make sure to take at least one picture of the vehicle’s license plate.
Should I file a police report?
Even if the vehicle was parked and you were not injured or even inside the vehicle when it was struck, it is still crucial that you file a police report. This will officially document that the accident that caused damage to your vehicle actually occurred – and that an at-fault driver’s carelessness or negligence caused it. Under Michigan law, any automobile crash involving vehicle damage of $1,000 or more must be reported and the police must file a police report. (MCL 257.622)
Each police department has its own policy about coming out to the scene of an accident. It seems to depend mostly on what city the vehicle was in and what department is responsible for coming out. As I mentioned above, Detroit police typically will not come out when a driver crashes into a parked vehicle. Many police departments in the suburbs of Metro Detroit will come out to make an incident report.
However, if the vehicle damage appears to be $1,000 or more, the police must under Michigan law make a police report thus triggering the police department’s obligation to complete a UD-10 Traffic Crash Report and forward it to the Michigan State Police. If you witness severe damage to your vehicle, you should indicate it when you are calling for a police officer to come out as they will be more inclined to come out to document, diagram and photograph the scene and vehicle damage as well as look for and interview potential witnesses if they know this the vehicle damage is extensive and more than just a very minor fender bender.
What information should I gather?
After someone has hit your parked car in Michigan, you should get his or her: (1) name; (2) address; (3) phone; (4) email address; (5) license plate number; (6) insurance company name and policy number; and (7) driver’s license number. Also, you need to get witnesses’ names and contact information.
Someone hit my parked car and left, now what?
If someone hit your parked car and left, that is a violation of the Michigan hit-and-run law. Anyone who causes vehicle damage in an accident “upon public or private property that is open to travel by the public” must remain and provide information to the other drivers and the police. (MCL 257.618(1))
Leaving the scene of an accident “that results in damage to a vehicle” is a misdemeanor, punishable by not more than 90 days in jail or a $100 fine or both. (MCL 257.618(2))
Someone hit my parked car and left a note, now what?
If someone hit your parked car and left a note, that is likely a violation of the Michigan hit-and-run law. However, the violation may be mitigated (by a court) if the note includes the following information: (1) the driver’s and owner’s name and address; (2) plate number; and (3) driver’s license number. (MCL 257.619)
What if I was inside of it?
If someone crashed into your parked vehicle in Michigan while you were inside of it and if you were injured, then you can make a claim for No-Fault benefits to cover your medical bills and lost wages. You may also be able to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation and “excess” medical expenses and wage loss.
To pay for any vehicle damage repair costs, you could sue the at-fault driver for up to $3,000 by filing a Michigan mini tort lawsuit or you could file a claim with your auto insurance company under your collision coverage.
Because you were inside of your vehicle when someone crashed into it and you were injured, your vehicle damage will not be covered by the at-fault driver’s “property protection insurance.” That only applies when a vehicle is unoccupied.
Do I have to pay a deductible?
If someone hit your parked, unoccupied car in Michigan, you will not have to pay a deductible if you file a vehicle damage claim through the driver’s “property protection insurance” coverage. However, if you make a claim through your own collision coverage, then the terms of your policy will determine whether you must pay a deductible.
If you know the identity of the person who crashed into your unoccupied vehicle, then your vehicle damage will be paid for through the driver’s property protection insurance or PPI, which covers “physical injury to or destruction of the property and loss of use of the property so injured or destroyed.” (MCL 500.3121(3))
Best case scenario, the driver will provide you his or her auto insurance information at the scene in the parking lot. Alternatively, the information may be provided if the driver leaves a note and/or files his or her own police report.
But if you do not know the identity of the other driver because he or she left the scene, then your only potential source of insurance coverage for the cost of repairing your vehicle damage is your own collision insurance – which may involve a deductible, depending on the type of coverage your purchased.
Someone hit my parked car will my insurance go up?
If someone hit your parked car in Michigan your auto insurance premiums could go up – even if you were 100% not at-fault. Michigan law does not prevent insurance companies from increasing their rates based on their insureds being involved in a non-at-fault vehicle crash.
Someone hit my parked car and I have no insurance, now what?
If someone hit your parked car in Michigan and you do not have insurance but you know the identity of the driver who crashed into your unoccupied vehicle then you can file a claim for “property protection insurance” benefits with his or her insurer. However, if the driver left, then you will have to pay out of pocket for your vehicle damage.
Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law
If you have been injured in a parking lot accident and would like to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation, You can also get help from one of our experienced accident attorneys by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.