“I was riding my bicycle in the road, and was hit by a car. I don’t have any insurance. How can I pay the medical bills?”
A caller asked us this recently. She was very concerned, because it turns out the accident was her fault (she swerved right into the path of a car she should have seen). On top of that, she told us that she didn’t own a car, and that she lived alone. Her medical bills from the hospital alone were in the thousands of dollars. She wanted to know what advice we could give her.
It turns out that she will be getting no-fault benefits through the policy of the owner of the vehicle that struck her. No-fault insurance has that name because you qualify for some benefits in many situations no matter who was at fault. However, the trade-off for that coverage is that you can only sue for pain and suffering if the other driver was the one mostly or totally at fault, and if you had serious injuries.
Back to this case; the bicyclist would usually apply to her own car insurance, or to the policy of anyone she lived with who was a relative. That is true even if though she wasn’t even in a car. Since she didn’t have any coverage herself, and she lived alone, none of those possibilities were open to her. However, bicyclists and pedestrians who are in her situation can apply to the insurance for the owner or driver of the vehicle that was in the crash with them. It doesn’t matter who was at fault. It’s part of the coverage we pay for with our car insurance.
The insurance on the vehicle will pay those medical bills, and for our caller’s time off work, too. There are a few other benefits she could qualify for, as well.
Remember; because she caused the accident, she won’t get anywhere with a case for pain and suffering. But she will get no-fault coverage for those bills!
The rules covering benefits for car and truck drivers are full of all kinds of exceptions for motorcycles, off-road vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. You should never assume that you are, or are not, covered until you talk to an attorney who is very familiar with Michigan no-fault law.