The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued another decision on motorcyclists rights to recover no-fault PIP benefits. The decision was a good one, protecting motorcyclists when they are involved in an auto accident or motor vehicle accident.
Under the Michigan no-fault law, normally a motorcycle accident victim is not entitled to no-fault benefits. For example, if a motorcyclists runs into a tree, that person cannot open a no-fault claim and obtain benefits, such as wage loss benefits, payment of medical bills, replacement services, attendant careor reimbursement of prescriptions drugs.
However, a motorcyclist can recover Michigan no-fault benefits when a motorcycle accident involves a motor vehicle, such as a car or truck. The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld this principle in Progressive Michigan Insurance Company v. Elston, unpublished, docket no. 294553. In this case, a motorcyclist crashed his bike while attempting to avoid a collision with an oncoming motor vehicle. No contact occurred between the motorcycle or the motor vehicle. Citing prior case law, the Court held there was a sufficient connection to support a finding that a motorcyclist’s injuries arose out of the use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle when the motor vehicle forced the motorcyclist off the road.
As a result, the injured motorcyclist was entitled to no-fault benefits, including the payment of his medical bills. This decision reversed the trial court’s ruling that the motorcyclist was not entitled to these benefits.
This decision is important. Insurance companies do not like paying no-fault benefits on motorcycle injury claims. They particularly dislike these claims when there is no contact between the motorcycle and motor vehicle. However, the Michigan No-Fault Law does not require contact. It only requires that a motor vehicle is involved in the accident. As such, the Court of Appeals made the right decision, reversing an incorrect ruling by the trial judge.
Motorcyclists all over the state of Michigan can breathe just a little easier as they take to the roads this summer.