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Michigan Hit And Run Accident Law: What You Need To Know

November 4, 2022 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan Hit And Run Accident Law: What You Need To Know

Under the Michigan hit and run accident law, it is a crime to leave the scene of an automobile crash. If the driver causes a fatality and flees the scene of the crash, he or she faces up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If you are involved in a crash where the driver leaves the scene, you must immediately call the police and notify your auto insurer.

What is a hit and run accident in Michigan?

In Michigan, a hit and run accident occurs when the at-fault driver who causes a car crash flees the scene in order to avoid having their identity disclosed and, thus, to prevent being held legally and financially accountable for deaths, injuries and/or vehicle damage that resulted from their negligent driving.

What to do in a hit and run accident in Michigan?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident in Michigan, you should file a police report immediately and no more than 24 hours after the crash. You should also notify your own auto No-Fault insurance company about the crash. 

Many insurance policies now include strict notice provisions that require the insurance company to be notified of this type of crash within a specific period of time, and failure to comply could result in losing insurance coverage.

Finally, if you have suffered an injury, incurred medical bills and/or lost time from work, you should file an application for No-Fault benefits as soon as possible to collect owed PIP benefits from the accident.

If you were involved in this type of automobile crash in Michigan, you will need to open an uninsured motorist claim. In order to file a claim for “uninsured motorist” and/or “underinsured motorist” benefits as well as collision and comprehensive coverage, many auto insurance companies will require victims of these types of crashes to make a “written report” to the police (i.e., a police report) within 24 hours of the crash.

Similarly, many insurers also require that victims of these types of crashes make a “written report” to the insurance company within 30 days of the auto accident in order to be eligible to claim benefits under their UM and UIM coverage.

Your application for No-Fault benefits must be filed with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year of the crash. Your No-Fault benefits will help pay for your medical bills and lost wages if your injuries disable you from returning to work.

Is a hit and run accident illegal in Michigan?

According to Michigan law a hit and run accident is illegal. The law states that you must stop at the scene, exchange information with the people involved and assist others in securing medical aid. You should call 9-1-1 and/or the police immediately. Gather as much information as possible from witnesses and bystanders about the at-fault vehicle if it is safe to do so and if you are physically able. At the very least, consider taking a picture with your phone of both cars and a picture of the license plate of the vehicle that struck you at the scene.

Under Michigan law, if you are involved in an automobile crash, you must: 1) stop at the crash scene; (2) provide to the police and others involved in the crash your name, address, vehicle registration number and the name and address of the vehicle’s owner (if it is not you); (3) present your driver’s license; and (4) “render to any individual injured in the accident reasonable assistance in securing medical aid.” (MCL 257.617(1); 257.617a(1); 257.618(1); and 257.619 (a-c))

To ensure that you and/or your own auto accident lawyer can contact them later, try to get the names, phone numbers and email addresses of witnesses and bystanders.

The information that you will want to try to collect concerning the vehicle that flees the scene of a crash includes:

  • License plate number
  • Make and model
  • Color
  • Distinguishing characteristics (such as bumper stickers or window decals)
  • The location and extent of vehicle damage
  • Description of the driver
  • The direction in which the vehicle fled 

Do police investigate these types of automobile crashes?

Yes. The police will investigate these types of automobile crashes because leaving the scene of a crash in Michigan is a crime. It could be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on whether the crash resulted in a death, injury or vehicle damage and whether the fleeing driver was at-fault for causing the crash.

Does a hit and run count as an accident in Michigan?

A hit and run counts as an accident under Michigan law. Whether it counts as an accident for purposes of your “uninsured motorist” insurance coverage will depend on the terms of your policy. Similarly, whether it is an “accident” that could result in your premiums being increased will depend on your insurer.

How to report a hit and run accident in Michigan?

In Michigan, you report a hit and run accident to the police officer who responds to the scene. Alternatively, you could report it immediately afterward at the nearest police station. The law requires that a police report be filed for crashes where a person has been killed or injured or there is $1,000 in property damage.

Also, many insurers will require victims of these crashes to file a police report within 24 hours of the crash and file a written report to the insurer within 30 days in order to be able to make a claim for “uninsured motorist” or “underinsured motorist” benefits.

Can you sue for a hit and run accident in Michigan?

In Michigan, you can sue for a hit and run accident only under very limited circumstances. First, you can sue the at-fault driver who flees the scene only if the police catch them and they are at-fault for causing the crash. Second, you may end up having to sue your auto insurer if it denies your “uninsured motorist” benefits claim.

Many auto insurance companies provide “uninsured motorist” insurance coverage to insureds who have been injured by a driver who flees the scene of the crash. When the driver is not caught by the police, he or she is treated as an “uninsured” at-fault driver for purposes of a crash victim’s “uninsured motorist” coverage.

How much jail time for this type of accident?

The amount of jail time that a driver who flees the scene of a crash could get in Michigan (assuming he or she is caught) depends on whether the crash resulted in death or injury of a person or damage to a vehicle. Worst case scenario, an at-fault driver who killed someone and fled the scene could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

Here are the amounts of jail time that a driver who flees the scene of crash could face based on the facts of the crash:

  • A driver who was at-fault in causing a crash that “results in the death of another individual” and leaves the scene of the crash is guilty of a felony and could be sentenced to up to 15 years and/or fined up to $10,000. (MCL 257.617(3))
  • A driver who left the scene of a crash that resulted “in serious impairment of a body function or death” is guilty of a felony and could go to prison for up to 5 years and/or be required to pay a fine of up to $5,000. (MCL 257.617(2))
  • If an accident “results in injury to any individual,” then the driver who flees the scene of the crash is guilty of a misdemeanor and could be jailed for up to 1 year and/or ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000 and have his or her driver’s license suspended. (MCL 257.617a(2) and (3)) 
  • A driver who is involved in a crash that “results in damage to a vehicle operated by or attended by any individual” and leaves the scene is guilty of a misdemeanor with a $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail. (MCL 257.618(2))

Are these types of crashes considered an at-fault crash?

These types of automobile crashes are not necessarily an at fault crash. Theoretically, the fact that a driver flees the scene of crash does not mean that he or she was at-fault in causing the crash. However, in reality, more times than not, the driver who leaves the scene did cause the crash – which is why he or she fled instead of stopping.

Who is at fault in a hit and run accident in Michigan?

In Michigan, determining who is at fault in a hit and run accident will depend on which driver’s negligence was the cause of the crash. In rear-end collisions, the driver that strikes the back of another vehicle “shall be deemed prima guilty of negligence.”

Who pays the deductible in this type of automobile crash?

Whether you are required to pay a deductible for your Michigan No-Fault medical benefits or collision or other coverage will depend on the contractual language and terms of your own auto No-Fault insurance policy and the deductible that you have chosen when you purchased your auto policy.

Who do I call for a hit and run accident in Michigan?

Call the police for a hit and run accident in Michigan, especially if the crash resulted in death or injury to someone and/or involved at least $1,000 in property damage. If you plan on making an “uninsured motorist” insurance claim, then you will also have to call and report the crash to your insurer.

Were you injured in a crash where the driver left the scene in Michigan? Michigan Auto Law can help

If you or a loved one were injured in a crash in Michigan where the driver left the scene, you can call us toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We can answer all of your questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages, auto No-Fault insurance PIP benefits, and the settlement value of cases like yours with absolutely no cost or obligation. You can also get help from an experienced injury attorney by visiting our contact page or chat feature on our website.

Michigan Hit And Run Accident Law: What You Need To Know

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