“Can I get no-fault benefits if I am injured while doing maintenance on my car, even if it is not running?”
Yes, the No-Fault Law says that PIP benefits are available for injuries that occur during maintenance of a vehicle. It is not necessary that the vehicle is in motion to bring this provision into effect. For example, in one case, a man had his car up on a jack so that he could replace his shock absorbers. It slipped off the jack and landed on him. At first, the car insurance did not want to pay his medical expenses, claiming that the car wasn’t running, or even being used as a motor vehicle at the time, meaning that no-fault benefits should be denied.
But the appeals court said that the No-Fault Law makes it clear that “maintenance” of a vehicle is an activity that is covered by benefits if someone is injured while working on an insured vehicle. Replacing shock absorbers is certainly maintenance. Benefits were ordered to be paid to the injured person.
Other cases have said that “maintenance” covers such activities as hooking up your car to be towed, or to looking under the hood to see why the car won’t start. Even though the cars weren’t running at the time the person was injured doing those things, the courts have said that these activities are covered by no-fault insurance.
Remember: like all the postings in this series, these situations reflect Michigan law, not necessarily the way things work in other states.