Michigan Parking Lot Accident
Most people involved in fender benders in parking lots are likely to exchange insurance information and go about the rest of their day. Accidents in parking lots very rarely lead to bodily injury. However, if that is the case, can an injured motorist collect PIP benefits from their insurer? Can they sue the other driver? What kind of power do the police have in these situations?
Should I Call the Police?
There is usually no need to contact the police should you find yourself in a parking lot fender bender. MCL 257.620 only requires a driver who causes an accident in a parking lot to notify the owner of the hit vehicle of his/her name and contact information, or the owner of the vehicle used which struck the other vehicle. Only where the owner of the other vehicle cannot be located should you contact a police officer. Failing to provide information or contact the police may result in a misdemeanor “hit and run” charge should the police catch up with you later on, therefore, it is best to act accordingly and notify the owner of the struck car right away.
Am I Entitled to PIP Benefits?
One is entitled to PIP benefits as long as a motor vehicle as defined by Michigan’s No Fault Act is involved. It makes no difference whether an injury is the result of an accident that occurred on a public highway or whether it occurred in a private parking lot. However, one exception does exist that would prove to be common in a parking lot case. The “parked vehicle exception” holds that resulting injuries in an accident with other reasonably parked motor vehicles do not arise out of the ownership, use or maintenance of a motor vehicle as provided for in the Act. What does this mean? No-fault benefits are not required to be paid by insurers in accidents involving properly parked vehicles in parking lots. Only where a vehicle is improperly parked which creates an unreasonable risk of injury may an injured claimant be entitled to PIP benefits.
When in Doubt, Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in MI
If you were recently involved in an accident in a parking lot, and you are unsure as to your legal obligations, it may be wise to contact an attorney who can point you in the wrong direction. The last thing anyone wants is to be charged for a misdemeanor when a simple phone call will suffice. Also, if you have been involved in an accident in a parking lot that resulted in an injury, you should contact our office to see to it that your rights are being observed. Call our office today at 586-268-2400.