Michigan No-Fault Law – What Is A Motor Vehicle?

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Michigan No-Fault Law – What Is A Motor Vehicle?

What Is A Motor Vehicle?
Michigan PIP No-Fault Benefits

MCL 500.3101:

The term “motor vehicle” has an incredible amount of significance when it comes to receiving Michigan no-fault benefits and pain and suffering compensation following a car accident. Under Michigan law, only motor vehicles are covered under the Michigan no-fault law.

Therefore, a person injured in an accident involving a “motor vehicle” can obtain benefits such as wage loss benefits, the reimbursement of all hospital and doctor bills, payment for prescriptions and payment to family members for completing household chores. People injured when a motor vehicle is not involved in an accident are not entitled to these benefits.

But what is a motor vehicle for purposes of the Michigan no-fault law? MCL 500.3101 actually defines what a motor vehicle is. According to the statute, a “motor vehicle” is defined as the following:

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. Motor vehicle does not including any of the following:

  1. A motorcycle
  2. A moped
  3. A farm tractor or other implement of husbandry not subject to certain registration requirements under the Michigan vehicle code.
  4. An off-road vehicle (ORV)
  5. A golf cart
  6. A power-driven mobility device
  7. A commercial quadricycle

This definition is very important and should be thoroughly understood by anybody who is filing a no-fault claim. For example, a motorcycle is not motor vehicle. As a result, so long as a motor vehicle (like a car or truck) is not involved in an accident with a motorcycle, an operator or passenger of a motorcycle cannot obtain regular no-fault benefits.

The same is true for individuals injured while riding a moped, ORV or even a golf cart. The definition of motor vehicle has been analyzed by various trial judges and appellate courts for over 40 years. Besides the above list of transportation vehicles, the following have also been deemed to not be motor vehicles under the Michigan no-fault law:

  1. Snowmobiles
  2. Forklifts
  3. Street stock cars

Snowmobiles are not motor vehicles because they don’t have “more than 2 wheels”, as required by the motor vehicle definition. Forklifts and stock cars were not designed for operation on a public highway.

On the other hand, (1) tractor-trailers, (2) dual purpose vehicles and (3) go carts have been deemed “motor vehicles” for purposes of the Michigan no-fault law. Therefore an occupant or even a pedestrian injured to an accident involving these vehicles are eligible for no-fault benefits.

About the Author:

Eric joined the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C to fight for injury victims throughout Michigan. He has been selected to Super Lawyers and is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40. A graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, he devotes 100% of his practice to representing victims who have been injured by the negligence of others. He is on the Executive Board for the Michigan Association for Justice.

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