In the previous Blog entry, we discussed the Misdemeanor Offense of Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident (PD). This article will discuss the similar, but more serious Offense of Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident (PI).
Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident is typically spoken of as Leaving he Scene of a PI Accident. Like the related charge involving a Property Damage Accident, this Offense and its penalties are set forth in the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code. Leaving the Scene of a PI Accident carries a much stiffer potential penalty, however, of up to 1 year in the County Jail.
Again it would seem obvious why this is a Crime. There is a strong public interest in making sure anyone involved in an accident sticks around long enough to exchange information with anyone else involved and summon the Police, if necessary. The stakes are much higher if there is an injury, or even a potential injury. Doesn't everybody who ever gets a Driver's License learn that the first thing one should ask, after a collision, is if everyone is all right?
Imagine the potential consequences if a Driver leaves the scene of an accident after another person has been injured, and is unable to call for help. Given the stakes, making sure one person renders aid or contacts help for another who has been injured is, and ought to be, a matter of universal public policy.
In the real world, this charge comes up when someone collides with another vehicle, or pedestrian, and then panics and takes off. I think it's fair to say that most of the time this happens, the person who takes off truly believes that the other party is okay. In other words, most of the time, when one person knows they have really banged up another, they'll stick around and do the right thing.
As with PD accidents, there are two groups of people who Leave the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident:
1. Those who had been drinking and left the scene to avoid getting arrested for a DUI, and
2. Everybody else.