Michigan motorcycle accidents are a special type of claim under Michigan car accident law. This article helps explain motorcycle accident law and the rules and exceptions motorcycle accidents are guided by.
The Michigan No-Fault Law provides numerous benefits for individuals injured due to a motor vehicle accident. The word “motor vehicle” is very important. Under the law, a motor vehicle is a “vehicle, including a trailer, that is operated or designed for operation on a public highway by power other than muscular power and has more than 2 wheels.” MCL 500.3101(2)(h). Standard examples are car and trucks. Motorcycles on the other hand are excluded as a motor vehicle under the Michigan no-fault law. Simply put, motorcycles are not motor vehicles for purposes of the Michigan car accident law.
Because motorcycles are not motor vehicles, motorcyclists are unable to purchase a typical no-fault policy that provides unlimited medical coverage and other benefits, such as wage loss, reimbursement for prescriptions and payment to family members for care. Instead, motorcyclists are only required to purchase bodily injury coverage, which protects motorcyclists against liability for bodily injury and property damage.
Insurance companies that write motorcycle polices are required to provide medical coverage. However, the medical coverage is only available in $5,000 increments. In addition, this coverage is not mandatory and many motorcyclists opt not to purchase medical coverage.
Still, even though a motorcycle is not a motor vehicle, a passenger or motorcycle operator can still receive Michigan no-fault benefits, including unlimited medical coverage in certain situations.
To establish a claim under the no-fault law for a motorcycle accident, an injured person must present proof that the injury arose “out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle.” MCL 500.3105(1).
The Michigan No-Fault Law goes on to state that a “person suffering accidental bodily injury arising from a motor vehicle accident which shows evidence of the involvement of a motor vehicle while an operator or passenger of a motorcycle shall claim personal protection insurance benefits … MCL 500.3114(5).
This means as long as a motorcycle was involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, the individual injured while on the motorcycle is entitled to the same benefits as if the person was injured while occupying a car or truck.
But what does “involved in” mean? The no-fault law does not exactly define this. But we do know a few things. For example, physical contact with a motor vehicle is not necessary. So if a motorcyclist is forced to “dump” his bike due to a near collision with a motor vehicle, the motor vehicle is considered involved in the accident with the motorcycle and no-fault benefits are available.
However, the closer the motor vehicle is to actually impacting the motorcycle, the more likely the motor vehicle was involved in the motorcycle accident.
To be eligible for no-fault benefits though, a motorcyclist is required to have motorcycle insurance on his bike. This is mandatory. If the motorcyclist is not insured, he is not eligible for no-fault PIP benefits.
In addition, there is no requirement that a person must wear a helmet to be eligible for PIP benefits. Still, is highly encouraged to protect yourself and wear a motorcycle helmet when riding.
The Michigan motorcycle lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. have been handling motorcycle accidents throughout the state for decades. Our experienced and dedicated team of legal professionals are on call to assist and fight for you. We are here to answer your questions, make your feel comfortable and to win your case.
Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) so we may answer your questions. There is no fee unless we win your case.