Uninsured Owner Entitled to PIP Benefits – Shinn v. State of Michigan

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Uninsured Owner Entitled to PIP Benefits – Shinn v. State of Mich Sec. of State

Michigan Car Accident Lawyers

Michigan Uninsured Drivers – MCL 500.3113

Under the Michigan No-Fault Law, uninsured owners involved in a motor vehicle accident are not entitled to Michigan no-fault benefits. So if an owner of a car is involved in a Michigan car accident, and the owner failed to insure his car and is injured in the accident, he cannot make a claim for benefits.

This disqualification is found in MCL 500.3113, which states in relevant part:

A person is not entitled to be paid personal protection insurance benefits for accidental bodily injury if at the time of the accident any of the following circumstances existed:

(b) The person was the owner or registrant of a motor vehicle or motorcycle involved in the accident with respect to which the security required by subsection (3) and (4) of section 3101 was not in effect.

Under Section 500.3101, security (car insurance) is only required to be in effect during the period the motor vehicle is driven or moved on a highway.” MCL 500.3101(1).

So what happens if a person is injured while occupying a car or truck they own, the car is not insured, but the car or truck is parked and not being “driven or moved on a highway.” Is the uninsured owner entitled to no-fault PIP benefits then?

That question was recently answered in Shinn v. State of Michigan Secretary of State Assigned Claims Facility, ____ Mich App ____, (Docket no. 324227, dated March 29, 2016).  In Shinn, the plaintiff owned an uninsured vehicle that was parked on the street in front of her house. The car was not operable. While sitting in the front of the vehicle, the car was rear-ended by another car and the plaintiff sustained injuries.

The car insurance carrier assigned to pay the claim, Farmers Insurance, denied payment claiming because the uninsured owner of the car was involved in the accident, she was not entitled to PIP benefits per MCL 500.3113. The trial judge agreed and dismissed her claim.

The Michigan Court of Appeals disagreed. The Court focused on the language of MCL 500.3101, which states car insurance is only required when the motor vehicle is driven or moved on a highway. Because the driving or movement on a highway was completed several days before the accident, and the vehicle was parked at the time of the accident, car insurance was not required at that time. As a result, Ms. Shinn was entitled to no-fault PIP benefits.

This case has important implications for uninsured owners and their ability to collect no-fault benefits. According to the Shinn court, if a vehicle has not been driven or moved on a highway for a few days, it is not required to be insured.