Michigan Car Accident Lawyers
PIP Benefits for Occupants –Order of Priority
Individuals injured in a Michigan car accident, truck accident and even most motorcycle accidents are entitled to Michigan no-fault benefits. The insurance company responsible for paying benefits depends on a number of factors. One such factor is whether the injured person occupied a motor vehicle at the time of the accident. This is a review of the order of priority for claims involving occupants of a car or truck or motorcycle injured in a motor vehicle accident.
An occupant of a car or truck accident who is injured in an accident and is entitled to Michigan no-fault benefits first turns to his or her own auto insurance carrier for payment. It doesn’t matter if you are driving the car or a passenger, a claimant always look to their own auto insurance company first.
If a passenger is not a named insured on an auto policy, the person then turns to the insurance carrier for a spouse or resident relative. So if you live with your mother or brother, and you don’t have auto insurance but one of them does, that carrier is responsible for paying benefits.
If there is no auto insurance in the household, the auto insurance carrier for the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident is obligated to pay. If there is no insurance at that level, then the auto insurance carrier for the driver of the motor vehicle at the time of the accident must pay the claim.
If none of those individuals have car insurance, then you can still recover no-fault benefits by turning the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan will assign an insurance company to facilitate the payment of no-fault benefits.
The order of priority for occupants as described in MCL 500.3114 is laid out below:
First Priority – the no-fault insurer of the injured occupant
Second Priority – the no-fault insurer of the injured occupant’s spouse
Third Priority – the no-fault insurer of the injured occupant’s resident relative
Fourth Priority – the no-fault insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident
Fifth Priority – the no-fault insurer of the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the accident
Sixth Priority – the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan
The above list describes the general rules for the order of priority for occupants injured in a Michigan car wreck. However, there are important exceptions to consider that are also found in MCL 500.3114.
Exception: Vehicles in the Business of Transporting Passengers
An occupant of a vehicle that is in the business of transporting passengers seeks no-fault benefits from the insurer for the motor vehicle. However, there is a big caveat. If an occupant is in one of the following vehicles for hire, then the person uses the order of priority outlined above, except if that person does not have insurance at any of normal orders of priority, the insurer for the transportation vehicle is obligated to pay benefits.
- School Bus
- A bus operated by a common carrier “certified by the department of transportation.”
- A bus operated under a government sponsored transportation program
- A bus providing service to a nonprofit organization.
- A taxicab
- A bus operated by a canoe, watercraft, bicycle or horse business used only to transport passengers to and from a destination point.
Exception: Employer Provided Vehicles:
If a person, or his or her spouse, or a relative of either domiciled in the same household, is injured while an occupant of a car or truck owned or registered by an employer, the auto insurer for the employer is obligated to pay no-fault benefits. So if you are injured while in a company car, the insurance company for the motor vehicle must pay the claim. This is true even if you were not using the car for your job. In addition, if a spouse or child is injured in the car, the insurance carrier is on the hook even if the employee was not in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Because motorcycles are not considered “motor vehicles” under the Michigan no-fault law, motorcycle drivers and passengers are generally not obligated to no-fault benefits. However, so long as a motor vehicle was involved in the accident, then a motorcycle driver or passenger can collect no-fault benefits.
But the order of priority for motorcycles is different.
First Priority – the no-fault insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident.
Second Priority – the no-fault insurer of the operator of the motor vehicle involved in the accident.
Third Priority – the no-fault insurer of the operator of the motorcycle involve in the accident.
Fourth Priority – the no-fault insurer of the owner or registrant of the motorcycle involved in the accident.
Firth Priority – the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. represents Michigan car accident victims throughout Michigan. If you have any questions, please contact the Michigan car wreck attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). Our attorneys fight every day to win our clients’ cases and get the no-fault benefits they are entitled to and deserve.