PIP for Motorcyclists in Michigan

Written by Steven Matz on . Posted in .

“If I am riding my motorcycle, and am hit by a car, which insurance company pays my no-fault benefits?”

Table of Contents for Insurance and PIP for motorcyclists in Michigan.

Insurance Company Coverage No-Fault Benefits On Motorcycle

A motorcycle is not considered a “motor vehicle” under the common definitions in the No-Fault Act. If it were, the motorcyclist would be required to carry no-fault insurance, including coverage for unlimited medical benefits. Here is the schedule that lists the order of priority for payment of no-fault benefits (wage loss, medical benefits, etc.) for motorcyclists who are involved in collisions with cars and trucks (“motor vehicles”):

  1. The insurance company for the person who owns or registers the motor vehicle;
  2. The insurance company for the person who was driving the motor vehicle during the accident;
  3. The insurance company for any car or truck owned by the motorcycle operator;
  4. The insurance company for any car or truck owned by the person who also owned or registered the motorcycle; and
  5. Assigned Claims.

This is clearly a departure from the usual rules of no-fault coverage, which state that each person in an accident applies to his or her own no-fault coverage first, even if they aren’t in their own car when an accident happens. In cases where motorcyclists are in collisions with cars and trucks, it is the insurance for the car or truck that will provide no-fault coverage to the motorcyclist. It does not matter which driver was at fault.

Please keep in mind that there has to be evidence that a motor vehicle was involved in the collision for these rules to apply. Because a motorcycle is not a “motor vehicle” for no-fault purposes, there will not be any PIP (no-fault) coverage for either driver if two motorcycles collide, or for either person if a motorcyclist runs over, for example, a bicyclist or pedestrian (no “motor vehicle” involved).

Do You Qualify For No Fault Benefits?

The rules covering motorcyclists are different from those covering other motorists involved in collisions. If you are a motorcyclist involved in a collision, you may qualify for no-fault benefits, and you may be able to file a claim for pain and suffering against the driver who caused the collision. There are conditions that apply to whether you will receive benefits.

1) You must be involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Michigan law does not include motorcycles in the definition of “motor vehicle.” This means that you will not receive no-fault benefits for medical expenses, wage losses, mileage, replacement services or attendant care unless your motorcycle was “involved” in a collision with a vehicle such as a car, truck or bus. Example: two motorcycles collide-can’t get no-fault benefits Example: motorcyclist hits pothole and tips over–can’t get no-fault benefits.

2) You must have liability coverage on your motorcycle in order to qualify for no-fault benefits from the vehicle you hit, or that hits you. If you don’t have the residual bodily injury coverage, you can’t get no-fault benefits.

3) If you have liability coverage on your motorcycle, and are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, here is the order of priority under which you may apply for no-fault benefits:

  • the insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the collision; if none, then
  • the insurer of the operator of that motor vehicle; if none, then
  • the car (motor vehicle) insurance company of the operator of the motorcycle you were on; if none then
  • the car (motor vehicle) insurance company of the owner of the motorcycle you were on.

4) You can purchase optional medical coverage on your motorcycle policy, which is a good idea because you never know whether you will be injured in an incident that does not involve another vehicle.

5) Remember that as of April 13. 2012, if you choose to ride a motorcycle without a helmet in Michigan, you must carry at least $20,000 of medical coverage on your motorcycle for yourself, and at least $20,000 for a passenger.

Because many motorcycle injuries are quite serious, you may also qualify for money damages for your pain and suffering against the driver who caused the collision.

Conclusion

Remember to keep your motorcycle endorsements, including no-helmet privileges, up to date, and carry the required insurance for medical coverage and liability so that you will be in compliance with the special group of laws that apply to motorcyclists in Michigan.  For more information contact us through our contact page or call 1-866-22Not33 today!

Source: MCL 500.3114(5)

Written By Steven Matz

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury. Mr. Matz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with high distinction and highest honors in 1974 from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from The George Washington University National Law Center. Mr. Matz lectures and publishes in a number of areas, including ethics, marketing, trial tactics, and head injury. Mr. Matz has served on the Michigan Association for Justice Executive Board and currently serves the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board as a Hearing Panel Chairman and Master. He is also a member of the State Bar Committee for Character and Fitness.
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