Hit and Run Michigan Car Accidents: 7 Facts To Know
If you’ve been injured — or had property damage — you may file a lawsuit to receive adequate compensation.
Michigan law defines hit and run as an accident involving a car or other vehicle, and causing damage to another vehicle, person, animal, or fixed object — without stopping and identifying oneself, exchanging information, and/or helping an injured person.
Why do people flee an accident scene? In many cases, it’s because the at-fault driver is driving without auto insurance, transporting drugs or weapons, operating a stolen vehicle, is operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or is named in a current or pending arrest warrant.
In 2018, there were 34,628 hit and run motor vehicle crashes in Michigan, which is almost 11% of all auto crashes in the state that year.
2. It’s A Crime
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. In Michigan, an individual who causes a hit and run car accident that results in the death of another individual can be found guilty of a felony in criminal proceedings, be sent to prison for up to 15 years, and fined up to $10,000 (MCL 257.617(3)).
If the accident results in injury and/or property damage, it is still a felony punishable with jail time and fines.
But just because it’s a crime — and the at-fault hit and run driver faces criminal charges — doesn’t mean that you can’t sue for monetary damages by filing a civil personal injury lawsuit.
3. Important Things To Do At The Scene
The success of a hit and run personal injury lawsuit often rests on the information the injured party — and others — can gather and record at the scene.
Call 911. If you are the injured party — or a bystander who has witnessed a hit and run accident, give the 911 dispatcher as many details as you can.
Try to get the license plate number. Sometimes the at-fault driver will pause long enough for a bystander or victim to take pictures, before fleeing the scene. Exchange contact information with anyone involved, including all witnesses and other drivers who may be involved.
Cooperate with the police, and find out how/when you can get their report.
4. Never Refuse Medical Attention
Even if you think you are fine, it is very important for you to welcome and comply with any treatment provided to you at the scene, and to follow any recommendations from EMT or police officers to receive further evaluation and treatment at a nearby hospital emergency room.
If you aren’t treated at the scene, see your primary care doctor or a doctor at a walk-in clinic as soon as you can after the accident.
Receiving medical attention is important for your health, as well as for legal reasons if there is a lawsuit.
5. Medical Reasons To See A Doctor
There are several common, latent injuries that can emerge after an accident like this, and a medical professional can usually identify them early, and begin treatment before they become too painful and/or disabling.
- A concussion and/or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can sometimes take days — or even weeks — to manifest.
- Cervical strains and injuries to the neck and spinal column, including herniated disc injuries, are sometimes slow to emerge.
- Knee, shoulder, and other soft tissue injuries can be more severe than they seem at first.
- The psychological and emotional impact of your injuries should not be ignored. Some people need more support in their recovery process, and learning new coping skills.
6. Legal Reasons To See A Doctor
In any settlement negotiation or lawsuit, refusing medical treatment at the scene or at the hospital — or delaying a visit to your doctor — will be used to diminish your claim and cast doubt about the seriousness of your injuries.
Receiving care promptly from a hospital, certified walk-in care clinic or your primary care physician creates a baseline diagnosis and treatment plan that will be difficult for an insurance company to question. It’s also helpful to coordinate physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other kinds of auxiliary care through your PCP to avoid it being questioned/denied.
7. Get Legal Help
Receiving adequate compensation in a hit and run case usually involves finding a personal injury attorney to work with you. An attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help guide you and be your advocate in a range of situations where the layperson usually lacks knowledge and skills — like settlement discussions with insurance company attorneys, and in a courtroom in front of a judge and jury.
Michigan no-fault laws provide for personal injury protection coverage (PIP) whether or not you carry the insurance yourself (i.e. you are entitled to these benefits even if you do not own a vehicle). PIP covers the injured party’s medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages, and other costs associated with care and recovery. In many cases, PIP is all the coverage you need, but sometimes it isn’t.
If your injuries are serious, filing a personal injury lawsuit that addresses both your medical and your nonmedical losses (pain and suffering) is the only way to proceed.
What are the long-term impacts of your injuries? Are you facing long-term or permanent disability? Will you be able to return to your job when you recover? Will you be able to return to work at all?
The professionals at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are glad to meet with you at your convenience, at a time and in a place that is most comfortable for you — including our offices, your home, or some other location. After this no-cost consultation, if we decide to work together, it will be on a contingency fee agreement, which means we don’t get paid until we get a settlement for you.
Contact us toll-free anytime at (866)-755-9502 or use our convenient contact form to schedule your complimentary consultation if you are a victim of a hit and run auto accident.