Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, which simply means that parties involved in a car accident are entitled to benefits from their own auto insurance companies no matter who caused the accident. However, you must still call the police when there is a serious accident, and an accident report will need to be made. Getting up to speed on Michigan car accident report basics could save you time down the road.
How to File a Car Crash Report in Michigan
This chart provides a summary of Michigan laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.
Note: Laws are subject to change. It’s important to verify the information you read about by conducting your own research or consulting with a Michigan attorney.
When Does an Accident Need to be Reported?
Michigan law requires drivers to report any vehicle accident that causes more than $1,000 in property damage, results in death or injury, or damages an unattended vehicle or other property. The driver is typically not required to draft an actual report, but must immediately alert the police that an accident has occurred.
Cities and counties can also have additional crash reporting rules. For example, Detroit requires you to report the accident whenever a car can no longer be driven in its usual manner. So even if the crash is minor but you end up in a ditch and need to be towed out, you must report it to the Detroit Police Department.
Failing to Report a Michigan Car Crash
It’s normal for people to be anxious when an accident occurs, but not reporting an accident in Michigan can make a bad situation worse. The driver of a vehicle who has reason to believe they were involved in an accident must immediately stop at the scene, check to see if there are any injuries, and exchange information with the other party.
If the accident is serious, the police must be immediately informed. A hit and run without injuries can result in a suspended license, fine, and misdemeanor conviction. If you flee the scene and someone is seriously injured or dies, you could receive a felony conviction punishable by 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Mechanic’s Duty to Report Vehicles Involved in Accidents
Michigan has tough laws designed to catch people who try to hide their involvement in an accident. When a garage or repair shop receives a vehicle for repair which shows evidence of being involved in an accident, the garage manager is required to immediately report this information to the nearest police station or sheriff's office. The police will record the engine number, vehicle registration number, and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle, to assess its involvement in any recent accidents.
Drafting an Accident Report
Situations may arise when the police are unable to go to the accident scene. It’s a good idea for you to file a report yourself. A personal accident report will also be useful for your car insurance claim. Even in a no-fault state, insurance companies want to know what happened before they pay a claim. Record the following information when drafting your accident report:
- Description of the crash, including how many people were in both cars
- Name and insurance information of everyone involved
- Names of witnesses and their detailed accounts of the crash
- Details about damages and injuries
- Diagram of the accident scene
- Photos of damage and video statements
Get Legal Help With Your Michigan Auto Accident Claim
Handling the aftermath of an auto accident is often more stressful than the actual crash. Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate the claims process alone. A personal injury attorney can help ensure that you are fairly compensated and your rights are protected. Don't delay; speak with a Michigan car accident attorney today.