Michigan Motorcycle Accidents and Michigan No-Fault Benefits
By: Eric Steinberg
March 26, 2012
As a follow up to my recent post regarding this early spring weather and motorcycling, I wanted to write about Michigan motorcycle accidents and their relationship to Michigan no-fault benefits.
Here is a quick run down. As the Michigan No-Fault Law states, an insurer must pay benefits for accidental bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle. However, no-fault benefits are available to motorcycle accident victims too even though motorcycles are not motor vehicles under the law. Basically, so long as the motorcycle is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, the operator or the passenger of the motorcycle is entitled to no-fault benefits.
The benefits available under the Michigan No-Fault Law are extensive. They include such things as the payment of all medical expenses, loss wages, replacement services and attendant care.
The rule is pretty clear. If a person on a motorcycle is involved in an accident that does not involve a motor vehicle, that person is not entitled to no-fault benefits under the law. The classic example is a motorcyclist swerving to avoid something on the road, losing control, and sustaining an injury. That person is not entitled to no-fault benefits. However, if a motor vehicle was involved in some way to cause an accident, no-fault benefits are available to the injured persons on the bike.
So what does involved with a motor vehicle mean. Well multiple Michigan cases have held that involved does not mean the motorcycle had to have actual physical contact with a motor vehicle. As long as there was a sufficient connection between the motorcycle and the motor vehicle causing the accident, no-fault benefits can be obtained by the persons hurt on the motorcycle.
Now, like anything in life, there are caveats. First, if the person injured on the bike is the owner or registrant of the bike, that person must have PLPD on the bike in order to receive no-fault benefits. So if the motorcycle is uninsured, and the owner or registrant was on the bike when the accident happened, that person is out of luck.
Second, motorcyclists can purchase an optional form of motorcycle PIP coverage. The amounts are sold in increments of $5,000. So there is still a way to receive no-fault PIP benefits even if you are injured on a motorcycle but no motor vehicle was involved. However, this type of insurance coverage is usually expensive.
I hope this post helps in your understanding of Michigan motorcycle accidents and their relationship to Michigan no-fault benefits. Our Michigan motorcycle accident attorneys have handled hundreds of motorcycle accident cases over the years. Just give us a call at 1-800-LEE-FREE if you have any questions.