Hit and run accidents are some of the worst case scenario type accidents to happen in Michigan, and unfortunately they are all too common. If you are the person hit by a vehicle while out of your own vehicle, you can only hope that the person who hit you would stop and render assistance, even if this was just to call an ambulance. If you are involved in a hit and run accident and the driver doesn’t stop, it’s not certain that the person will be found. So what do you do about it and is there anything that can help compensate for injuries received due to a hit and run accident? What can the family of a hit and run accident victim who is fatally injured do, if anything?
Of all Michigan crashes, 10% of them are hit and run cases. That information comes from the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts. One of the difficult factors behind hit and run accidents, at least from a personal injury point of view, is that many drivers in some parts of the state are uninsured. As many as 50% of drivers in some cities, such as Detroit and Flint, are estimated to be uninsured.
The law in Michigan is strict when it comes to hit and run incidents. What is colloquially known as a hit and run accident is actually a situation in which a driver fails to stop after causing damage to property or to a person. Michigan law says that you must remain at the scene of an accident you are involved in. There are some circumstances that permit you to leave the scene of an accident and that is when staying there may cause more harm. In that situation there is still a requirement to let the police know as soon as possible what happened.
Any individual who has been involved in an accident and has left the scene without remaining behind r reporting the incident might face a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. A conviction will be treated as a felony.
Criminal charges also await anyone who leaves the scene of an accident in which someone is seriously injured.
The Michigan statute of limitations for prosecutions is six years since the hit and run incident.
A typical example of a hit and run fatality occurred on August 30th 2016. 49 year old Lisa Samson-Moore was jogging on Dehmel Road in Frankenmuth, Michigan when she was hit by a vehicle. The accident resulted in a fatality, but the driver did not stop to render assistance. As does happen occasionally, the driver, Kaleb N. Mossner, turned himself in voluntarily later. He claimed that he did not know what he had hit at the time but did admit that he knew that he had hit “something.”
He has recently been sentenced to a year in prison by a Saginaw County Circuit Judge. He will have to do four years probation but the first year will be a work-release program in the Saginaw County Jail.
Every hit and run incident is unique and there are no hard and fast rules about how to respond to an incident if you are involved in one, even if it is as a family member. Your personal injury attorney will be able to assess the circumstances and offer advice about what your legal options are.
As with all personal injury claims, it is essential that proof of who was at fault is essential for a successful claim and in the case of a hit and run accident, it would be important to establish the link between any injuries involved and the person, if located, who was to blame. Witnesses and forensic evidence at the scene of the accident that can establish the identity of the driver and the vehicle that was involved will be crucial components of any criminal proceedings as well as any personal injury claim that is eventually laid against the driver.
If the driver is eventually identified, but found to be uninsured, the best chance of compensation is that you have uninsured motorist insurance. Considering the numbers of uninsured drivers in some parts of Michigan as has already been mentioned, this is a sensible precaution in any case.
Talk to our experienced personal injury attorneys at Abood Law Firm in East Lansing or Birmingham, Michigan if you have been involved in any type of vehicle accident, whether it was a hit and run incident or not and you were the victim of someone else’s negligent driving. You can contact Abood Law in East Lansing at 517.332.5900 or Birmingham at 248.549.0000.