Is It Still a Hit and Run if You Don’t Hit a Person?

The night is dark and you may be tired, intoxicated or simply inattentive. The next thing you know you have missed a turn-off and crashed your car right into someone else’s parked vehicle, or perhaps a fence or parking meter. Your car is still operational enough to drive, and no one saw you. No one was hurt, even though you may have damaged Michigan public property. You should be safe to drive away and report the incident to your insurance provider later, right?

The answer to this is no. The Michigan Offense Code Index for Traffic Violations states quite clearly that leaving the scene of a property damage accident is a hit and run, and you can be cited for it. If police are able to obtain your identity from traffic cameras or through other means, you will not only receive a traffic violation charge for damage to property but may also face trial for leaving the scene of an accident. Your insurance may also refuse to honor the claim because you drove away from a property damage accident without calling the police.

Instead of driving away, treat the accident as you would if you had been involved in a collision with an occupied car. Stop, get out of your car and assess the damage. Immediately call the police. This is also for your own safety. While you may think you feel well at the moment of the crash, you may need medical attention for impact damage that may not be instantly visible. Take photographs of the accident for your insurance company – but whatever you do, do not drive away.

This has been an informational post that should not be used in lieu of legal counsel.