What to Do After a Car Accident in Detroit
Thousands of cars on the roads lead to congestion and can create dangerous driving conditions. People driving to work or school might be in a hurry to get there on time, while other drivers may drive distracted by music, cellphones, or texting. Situations like these often result in serious and sometimes fatal automobile accidents.
Automobile Accidents in Detroit
Detroit, Michigan – the Motor City – was historically the international center and heart of the automotive industry. Detroit car companies manufactured and sold millions of cars since the early 1900s. As more people began to drive, the demand for them increased. In 2017, Michigan had over seven million registered vehicles.
Like most large cities, the highways and roadways of Detroit contain high volumes of car traffic, especially during weekday morning and the evening rush hours. Every day, the headlines include stories of car crashes resulting from:
- Drag racing
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Driving while intoxicated
In the current social media and cellphone age, distracted driving is one of the newest causes of car crashes. Michigan law prohibits reading, typing, or sending text messages, but not all drivers obey the rules.Car accidents can also occur through no fault of the drivers, and are attributable to:
- Bad weather
- Vehicle defects
- Potholes or broken roads
- Third-party negligence or misconduct
Motor vehicle accidents are dangerous, with the potential for serious physical and mental harm to drivers, passengers, and bystanders, along with extensive property damage. And in the worst cases, people are killed. Unfortunately, car crashes happen frequently. According to Michigan State Police reports, there were more than 300,000 car accidents in Michigan in 2018, and approximately 54,000 of those crashes were in Wayne County alone.
CAR ACCIDENT INJURIES
Many car accidents are minor fender benders. Your car may end up with a small dent or scratch. Sometimes, however, a car accident is severe and people get injured. Car accident injuries may include:
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Scrapes and cuts
- Back pain
- Abdominal pain
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Michigan law requires drivers in Detroit and elsewhere to follow specific procedures following a motor vehicle accident:
1. IMMEDIATELY STOP AFTER THE CAR ACCIDENT
Auto accidents happen in a split second. Vehicles collide even when drivers try their best to avoid it. Whether you have a minor fender bender or a major crash with injuries, you and the other driver(s) must immediately stop and stay at the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene may result in having your license suspended, paying fines, or even serving time in jail.
2. MOVE YOUR VEHICLE TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, IF POSSIBLE
After a car accident, the vehicles involved may block the road, which could prevent other cars from safely passing by. If you can, move your vehicle to the side of the road or out of the way of other vehicles. This will also help to prevent other cars from hitting your vehicle and causing additional damage and injuries.
While most car crashes are unintentional, sometimes the other driver(s) may have bad intentions for causing the collision. If you feel you were hit intentionally due to road rage or to get you alone to harm you, pull your vehicle into a safe area.
3. CALL 911
When you are in a car accident, emotions can run high. You or the other driver(s) may be frantic, panicked, and angry about the accident, especially if you have vehicle damage or bodily injuries. Call 911 to have a police officer come to the scene of the crash even if the damage is minor. The officer can assess the damage, take the statement of the drivers, passengers, and any witnesses to write an accident report. Should tempers rise between you and the other driver(s), the officer will serve as an impartial third-party who can intervene and control the situation.
4. EXCHANGE CONTACT AND INSURANCE INFORMATION WITH THE OTHER DRIVER(S)
Make sure to swap contact and insurance information with the other driver(s). This information is necessary to submit to your insurance provider, and you may need it if you have to go to court as a plaintiff or defendant. The information you should share includes: Exchange the following information with the other driver(s):
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved
- Insurance providers and policy numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Make, model, and color of each vehicle
5. DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT
It may be difficult to remember everything that takes place when you are in a car crash. Days and weeks later, your memory will not be as clear as the day of the accident, so it is essential to document the details of the accident thoroughly while you still are at the scene and soon after you leave. Take photos of all vehicles involved in the collision, especially visible damage to the body of the car. Photograph the area around the accident and nearby road signs that may help support your case. Write down the date, time, and location of the accident, and obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses –you may need their statements for an insurance claim or lawsuit.Note the name and badge number of the officer who arrives on the scene and writes the accident report. Later, obtain a copy of the police report for your records.
6. FILE AN ACCIDENT REPORT AND NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Michigan law does not require you to file an accident report unless you are in a serious car accident. The report may contain information that will help you with an insurance claim and may state which person is at fault for the crash or what caused the collision.
7. CALL A LAWYER
You may need to call a lawyer after you are in a car accident. If you are at fault for the accident, an attorney can help you understand your obligations and responsibilities for resolving the case. If you are the victim of the car accident, a lawyer can explain the rights and remedies available to you.
Where another driver is at fault but has inadequate car insurance, you may have to sue to recover any property or medical damages you incur. Lawsuits can be complicated and require time, patience, and legal knowledge you may not have. An attorney can handle the case for you.
Hiring an Attorney After Your Car Accident
Whether you are the person at fault or the victim of a car accident, legal issues may arise that require you to hire an attorney. If you are the victim of the car accident, you may need financial compensation for your injuries and lost time from work. You may also have medical bills and damage to your car. If you are the person at fault for the accident, the injured parties may decide to sue you.
Lawsuits can be complicated and time-consuming. A Detroit personal injury attorney – like the lawyers at Sommers Schwartz – has the experience and expertise to resolve your case. Contact Sommer Schwartz today for a free consultation to discuss your rights and obligations of your car accident case.