Car Accidents on Road Trips in Michigan: What to Do
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Taking a road trip through Michigan with your friends or family is a great way to see new and interesting sites on the way to your destination. But winter driving means you may have to deal with snow or ice during your trip.
What happens if you’re an out-of-state driver and are involved in an accident in Michigan? You’ll need to understand how specific state laws affect how you file a claim and the amount of compensation you can receive.
Being a non-Michigan resident also makes it harder for you to handle your case on your own. If you’re involved in an accident, consider hiring a Michigan car accident attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. to handle your case. Our legal team can guide you through the process and advise you on what steps you need to take.
What to Do After a Michigan Car Accident
There are several steps you need to take after you’ve been in an auto accident during your road trip. These steps apply no matter where your accident occurs along your trip.
Move out of traffic and address injuries
Immediately after your accident, you may be asked to maneuver your car to the side of the road and out of traffic. You can do so if your auto accident was minor, your car is functional, and you are not limited by your injuries. However, before moving your car, if it is safe to do so, take a photo of the accident scene.
For more serious accidents and injuries, leave your car in place and call for emergency medical assistance.
File a report
Once any injuries have been addressed, the first step after a car crash is to file an accident report. Call the Michigan state police or a local law enforcement agency to report the accident. You’ll need this official report of your accident to file claims with insurance companies or seek damages.
Law enforcement officers will evaluate and record the circumstance of your accident. They may take pictures of the scene, get copies of traffic camera footage, or interview accident witnesses for the report. You’ll want to obtain a copy of their accident report for your records.
This report contains unbiased information on what caused the accident, which party may be at fault, and other factors such as weather or traffic that may have contributed to your accident. Official accident reports are used by insurance companies and courts of law to determine the outcomes of claims and cases.
You’ll need to exchange contact information with the other driver. Make sure you’ve copied down information from their driver’s license, their insurance information, and have a copy of their license plate. Write down what state they’re a resident of and where the accident occurred. You’ll need additional contact information from witnesses of the accident as well.
Document the scene yourself
Before the scene is cleared, use your phone or a camera to record your own evidence. Take pictures of your car and any other vehicle involved in the accident if vehicle damage occurred. You want an accurate depiction of what happened so the other party can’t claim additional damage or try to discredit your claims. You may want to consider recording eyewitness accounts to support your compensation claim.
If you’re injured from the accident, have medical staff take pictures to document your injuries. Get copies of your medical records from any treatment you received and all healthcare-related bills and expenses. Documenting vehicle damages and injuries that resulted from your accident as soon as possible strengthens your evidence and your personal injury claims.
Contact appropriate parties
You’ll also have to contact your auto insurance company and other appropriate parties. Your insurance company will send a claims adjuster out to document the damage to your car. Their job is to evaluate the condition of your vehicle and develop an appropriate monetary amount of the damage for your insurance company. If you rented your vehicle or have additional insurance, you will also have to contact those parties.
Adjust your schedule
An accident during a road trip means you’re probably not close to home or your destination. You’ll have to make accommodations and adjust your schedule so you can handle the aftermath. This could mean canceling your planned trip.
It may take a day or so before you’re allowed to collect your belongings from your damaged vehicle. You might have to rent a car or find a hotel room in the town where your crash happened. In a worst-case scenario, you may be stuck in the hospital dealing with an injury from the crash. Be prepared to alter your plans as needed.
Be aware of state statutes and laws
States have different statutes of limitations for accidents involving injuries. It’s important to understand the laws where your accident happened and command your right to file claims and bring lawsuits. Under Michigan law, you have up to 3 years after the injury occurs to file a legal claim against the other party.
Michigan is a No-Fault Insurance State
Michigan auto insurance laws require drivers to have, at minimum, no-fault auto insurance. A no-fault insurance policy in Michigan will pay up to $250,000 in damages if another person is hurt or killed in an accident they were legally at fault for. No-fault auto insurance includes personal injury protection, property protection, and residual liability coverage.
Unless they meet specific criteria, the no-fault insurance policy prevents others from suing Michigan residents after a car accident. Residual liability protection coverage pays the injured party up to your policy limits when you’re found legally liable for the accident, and one of the following criteria is met:
- You’re responsible for causing an accident with serious injuries, permanent disfigurement, or death.
- You’re involved in an accident outside the state of Michigan.
- You’re involved in an accident within the state of Michigan with a non-Michigan resident driver and vehicle.
If you’re a non-Michigan resident and get into an accident with a Michigan resident within the state, you’re allowed to seek compensation through the other party’s residual liability protection coverage. Under their laws, Michigan residents are liable for property damage, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, and medical costs that exceed policy limits.
Get Legal Help in Michigan: Arrange Your Free Consultation Today
If you’re a non-resident involved in an accident in Michigan, Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help. Our experienced Michigan auto accident lawyers understand how our state laws affect liability and compensation. We’ll handle your case so you can heal from your injuries and move on with your life quickly.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.