Steps To Take After An Accident
It’s a situation no driver wants to find themselves in… an accident. Even if you’re an experienced driver or have just received your license for the first time, it’s important to know what steps to take immediately afterward to ensure your safety and to make sure you’re complying with Michigan state law.
Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also your legal obligation to stop after being in an accident despite how severe or minor it is and despite it involving another vehicle or a stationary object and regardless if it is on public or private property. You still need to stop to assess the situation! Doing so will give you the opportunity to decide if any further action is needed.
Check For Injuries
The very first thing to do after an accident has occurred is to see if you or your passengers are injured. If someone is seriously injured, try not to move them unless they are unsafe where they are currently are, then seek medical help by dialing 911 yourself or asking a nearby bystander to do so if you can not.
Move To Safety or Activate Hazard Lights
If you are not too injured and if your vehicle is able to be moved out of the flow of traffic and into a parking lot or shoulder, do so to remove yourself and others out of harm’s way. If you are too hurt to move or if your vehicle is disabled, be sure to turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights and do not stand in the roadway while waiting for help.
Call Police If Necessary
Michigan law requires drivers to report any accident that results in death, injury or damages over $1000 to property, and if it damaged an unattended vehicle or other property. If the accident is serious, the police should be notified immediately. Failing to do so in an accident with no injury could result in a hit and run accident that leads to fines, a suspended license and a misdemeanor conviction while it can lead to much more serious consequences if there injuries including a felony conviction up to 15 years and a $10,000 fine. Once the police arrive, they will gather the necessary information to fill out a report.
If there are not seriously injuries and police are not able to make it due to high volumes of accidents due to inclement weather, it is possible to gather the necessary information and report the accident later at a local police department. Chances are you will need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company.
It’s important to gather and provide the following information with the other driver involved in the accident:
- Full name and contact information
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Color, make and model of the vehicle(s) involved
- Location of accident
Document The Accident
Your insurance company and the police report will require information regarding the accident. Be sure to gather it all while you are there to avoid any complications or a loss of claim. Details should include:
- Name and insurance information of everyone involved
- Description of the crash, including how many people were in both cars and which direction the vehicles were headed
- Details about damages and injuries
- Photos of damage and video statements
- Diagram of the accident scene
File Claim With Insurance
Michigan is a No-Fault state and as such means that each individual will carry their own policy that will cover the cost of repairs to their vehicle, lost earnings and any medical costs that may be incurred despite who is at fault for the accident. Because of this, each individual can decide for themselves if they would like to make a claim against their own insurance company in the event of an accident. While it may seem obvious to file a claim where there is significant damage, it might not be worth it to file one where there was minimal damage or if it is less than your deductible.
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