Do Motorcycles Get Michigan No-Fault Benefits?

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Do Motorcycles Get Michigan No-Fault Benefits

In most cases, no, motorcycles are not eligible for the kinds of insurance policies that pay No-Fault benefits. Michigan law does not classify motorcycles as a type of motor vehicle, which is why No-Fault benefits are available to cars but not motorcycles.

However, you may be able to seek some of these benefits if you were involved in an accident with a motor vehicle covered by a No-Fault policy. A Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer can review your policy with you before figuring out the best way to get the money you need.

What Does Michigan Motorcycle Insurance Include?

According to the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS), your motorcycle insurance policy must, at minimum, cover the following:

  • $50,000 for every person who was injured in an accident caused by the biker
  • $100,000 total for all injuries sustained by other people because of the biker’s negligence
  • $10,000 total for all property damage the biker inflicted on others
  • $20,000 total for the biker’s medical care (only required for bikers who choose not to wear a helmet)

While these are the minimum requirements, you are free to purchase as much additional coverage as you want and can afford. If you plan to have passengers, there are also insurance requirements for them if they do not wear a helmet.

What Does Michigan Motorcycle Insurance Leave Out?

You will note that the requirements listed above only pay out if the biker is negligent and hurts someone else, not if the biker is injured and needs coverage. This is because motorcycle accident insurance does not include personal injury protection (PIP).

PIP is a type of insurance that allows the policyholder to collect benefits, regardless of who caused the crash. It is not required of nor available to bikers in this state, so motorcycles usually do not get No-Fault benefits in Michigan. However, it’s important to note that bikers can seek some PIP benefits if the other motorist involved was operating a motor vehicle covered by these No-Fault benefits, like a car or truck.

Motorcyclists and the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan

Even if you are ineligible for PIP coverage, you may still be able to recover No-Fault benefits after a crash. The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP) will pay bikers up to $250,000 in some cases. You can talk to your attorney about this option.

Why Bikers Cannot Get No-Fault Benefits in Michigan

Michigan is a No-Fault state. That means it does not matter how an accident happened or who was responsible for it: the policyholder is still entitled to compensation up to the amount covered by their plan. Survivors can use this money to pay medical bills and other expenses like lost wages, but not non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, Michigan bikers rarely get to enjoy the benefits of PIP coverage.

PIP Applies to Motor Vehicles Only

In Michigan, personal injury protection is typically only sold to (and required of) people who own a motor vehicle, especially a car. MCL 500.3101 (3)(i)(i) explicitly states that motorcycles do not count as motor vehicles for the purpose of determining insurance requirements.

To sum up:

  • Motor vehicle owners are usually the only ones who can buy personal injury protection.
  • Motorcycles are not classified as motor vehicles under Michigan law.
  • Riders usually cannot buy personal injury protection or receive No-Fault benefits from their own insurer after a crash.
  • Bikers could get PIP benefits from the other party, as long as they were driving a motor vehicle covered by a No-Fault, PIP plan.

How Riders Can Get Compensation for a Michigan Crash

While it may be discouraging to know that you cannot rely on your own insurance company in your hour of need, not all hope is lost. There are other ways that you can get compensation after an accident. The main one involves seeking damages from the liable party’s insurer.

Why File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?

As previously discussed, bikers must carry insurance to help pay anyone they injure while on the road. The same is true of other vehicle owners. If someone driving a car or a truck caused your accident, they should have the insurance coverage to pay you for your injuries.

Other possible at-fault parties, such as local government agencies responsible for maintaining roads, will be similarly insured.

Filing Your Motorcycle Accident Case

The process of seeking compensation is often long and involves many steps. With assistance from a law firm, you could more easily navigate tasks like the following:

  • Collecting evidence to determine who the liable party is
  • Collecting evidence to determine the total worth of your accident injuries
  • Sending the liable party a demand letter, asking that they pay the amount you ask for
  • Negotiating with the liable party’s insurance company for fair compensation
  • Determining when and if negotiations will not work and, if necessary, taking your case to court
  • Presenting your case in the courtroom by showing evidence, questioning witnesses, and asking the jury to make a just decision

What Benefits Does the At-Fault Party’s Policy Cover?

If your lawsuit succeeds, you could potentially recover compensation for everything you lost in the motorcycle accident, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Disability
  • Scar tissue
  • Loss of consortium
  • Medical bills
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of employment
  • Miscellaneous expenses

If you lost a loved one, a wrongful death action could get you compensation for all of the above, plus funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of financial support.

How Motorcycle Accident Compensation Can Improve Your Life

Right now, you are responsible for paying all of your own bills and managing all of your losses (minus whatever help you receive from your health insurance). Considering that the accident was not your fault, this is unfair. The least the at-fault party owes you is monetary compensation.

Compensation is especially critical if you sustained catastrophic injuries, like a traumatic brain injury, that require extensive and costly treatment.

Factors that May Jeopardize Your Motorcycle Accident Benefits

It is important to realize that asking for benefits is not the same as receiving them, and that the insurance company does not want to pay what you have asked for. As a result, you will probably face multiple obstacles on the way to getting compensation. The challenges will depend on factors such as:

  • Who was at fault. This can have a big impact on how much compensation you get: according to Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 600.2959, the greater your share of liability, the less you can get in damages.
  • How much evidence is available. It is one thing to say that a particular party was negligent and caused your injury; it is another to prove it. The more documentary evidence is available, the harder it is for the insurer to dispute your claim.
  • The stubbornness of the insurer. Some insurers are more willing to negotiate a fair settlement than others. An especially recalcitrant insurer may try to accuse you of exaggerating your injuries or placing blame where it does not belong.
  • Whether or not you hire an attorney. Without legal representation, it is easier for the insurer to cheat you out of your rightful damages. Hiring a personal injury attorney is a good way to protect your rights and your future.

How a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You Seek Benefits

The legal process for pursuing compensation can be difficult no matter who you are or what kind of accident you were in. However, bikers face complications that others, such as car drivers, do not have to worry about.

If you hire a motorcycle crash attorney to do all of the hard work in your case, you would have more time to focus on your recovery and your family. You also would not have to worry about being mistreated by the insurance company.

Get the Benefits You Deserve After a Michigan Motorcycle Crash

At Christensen Law, we are interested in getting justice for our clients, not in settling for less. Our Michigan team includes bikers who want to make sure motorcycle riders get the compensation they deserve, even if No-Fault benefits are unavailable. Call and ask for a free consultation today.