Insurance Rules in the Event of a Michigan Motorcycle Crash
With the weather finally improving, Michigan motorcycle enthusiasts are ready to hit the road once again. Unfortunately, while riding is run and exhilarating, motorcycle accidents are a fact of life.
What are the rules for motorcycles following an accident? If you don’t have bike insurance, can you still make a claim for compensation? This article seeks to answer these questions.
The Michigan No-Fault Claim
In Michigan, when a person is injured in a motorcycle accident, there are two claims. First, if a motor vehicle (car or truck) is involved in the accident, then the injured motorcyclists can file what is known as “first-party claim,” or a claim for Michigan no-fault PIP benefits. However, there are certain requirements.
At the outset, a motor vehicle must be “involved” in the motorcycle accident. This means a car or a truck must have somehow contributed to the accident. Direct impact with a car by a motorcycle is not required. Just that the motor vehicle is involved in the accident.
Second, under Michigan law, to get no-fault benefits following a motorcycle accident the title owner or registered owner of the bike must have motorcycle insurance. MCL 500.3103 states “an owner or registrant of a motorcycle shall provide security against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for property damage, bodily injury, or death suffered by a person arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of that motorcycle.”
In other words, motorcycle owners must maintain motorcycle insurance on their bike. Failure to do so results in that person not being entitled to any Michigan no-fault benefits, which include lost wages, the payment of medical expenses, replacement services and other benefits.
So, if you are a motorcycle owner, and you are injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle (car or truck), but you did not maintain motorcycle insurance on the bike involved in the accident, you have no claim for Michigan no-fault benefits.
But there is still an option.
Pain and Suffering Claim
Even if you don’t have bike insurance, you can make a claim for pain and suffering compensation so long as the other vehicle was negligent for causing the accident.
So there is a major difference here between motor vehicles and motorcycles. Under the law, if a person is operating their own uninsured car and they are involved in a car crash that somebody else caused, that person cannot make a claim for pain and suffering compensation. But this is not the case for motorcyclists. A person operating their own uninsured motorcycle can still make a claim for pain and suffering compensation.
A Recent Motorcycle Court Case
This reality was highlighted in recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision, Brickey v. McCarver, docket no. 337448 (published, 4/17/2018). In Brickey, the plaintiff was operating her motorcycle on US223 in Lenawee County when he was struck by a car. The plaintiff did not have motorcycle insurance at the time of the accident.
The trial judge dismissed the plaintiff’s claim for pain and suffering and loss of consortium. But in a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals reversed and held the plaintiff could still maintain a claim for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, even though he was driving his motorcycle without insurance.
Michigan Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers
Michigan motorcycle accident injury cases demand specific detail and expertise. The Steinberg Law Firm has been handling motorcycle accident cases throughout Michigan for over 40 years.
Please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) if you have any questions about Michigan motorcycle accident injury law.