Insurance lawyer lists factors determining who pays No-Fault PIP benefits
For Michigan residents who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents, one of the most confusing questions that first needs to be addressed is :
What auto insurance company is going to pay for my No-Fault PIP benefits?
To answer the question of “Who is going to pay?,” these are the factors that any insurance lawyer or insurance company adjuster must first consider:
Whether an auto accident victim, her spouse or a relative that lives with her is covered by a Michigan No-Fault auto insurance policy.
- Whether an auto accident victim was a driver or a passenger.
- Whether an auto accident victim was pedestrian or a bicyclist.
- Whether an auto accident victim was riding in a limousine or an ambulance or an airport shuttle.
- Whether an auto accident victim was riding in a taxi cab or a public bus or a school bus.
- Whether an auto accident victim was riding in a vehicle owned and furnished by her employer.
We have to ask these questions, as confusing as they may seem to someone who was just injured in a motor vehicle accident because Michigan has “priority” rules contained in our No-Fault Law. The purpose of these orders of priority is to determine which of the over one hundred auto insurance companies doing business in Michigan has the “highest priority” (i.e., legal responsibility) to pay an auto accident victim’s No-Fault benefits.
Remember, Michigan No-Fault PIP benefits are an indispensable lifeline for auto accident victims: They cover all reasonably necessary auto accident-related medical expenses and medical bills, up to three years of lost wages, replacement services (chores), attendant care services (in-home nursing), medical mileage and vehicle and/or home modifications.
Drivers and passengers
Hopefully, this list will help you understand which auto insurance company has highest priority to pay your PIP benefits. If you are still confused, you should immediately talk to an experienced Michigan insurance lawyer.
Also, and I have to apologize for putting in the required legalese disclaimer here, (even though I am a lawyer!) but as I write this, the Michigan legislature is currently tinkering with the No-Fault Act, and the law may have changed if you are reading this blog in the future, so you should verify the information below to make sure the law has not subsequently changed. I’m always happy to answer your question directly as well.
Remember, if you are injured in a Michigan motor vehicle accident and you are a driver, a passenger or otherwise “an occupant of a motor vehicle” at the time of an auto accident, then the following “priority” rules (in descending order) will determine the auto insurance company that is going to pay for your No Fault PIP benefits:
- First priority: If you have a No-Fault insurance policy in which you are the named insured, then you should file your claim for No Fault PIP benefits with your No Fault insurance company. (MCL 500.3114(1))
- Second priority: If you do not have No-Fault insurance, but your spouse has a No-Fault insurance policy in which he or she is the named insured, then you should file your claim for No-Fault benefits with your spouse’s No-Fault insurance company. (MCL 500.3114(1))
- Third priority: If neither you nor your spouse have No-Fault insurance, but a relative (of yours or your spouse’s) who lives with you has a No-Fault insurance policy in which he or she is the named insured, then you should file your claim for No-Fault benefits with your relative’s No- Fault insurance company. (MCL 500.3114(1))
- Fourth priority: If neither you nor your spouse nor your relatives have No-Fault insurance, then you should file your claim for N- Fault benefits with the No Fault insurance company for the owner or registrant of the vehicle you were occupying, i.e., riding in, at the time of the accident. (MCL 500.3114(4)(a))
- Fifth priority: If neither you nor your spouse nor your relatives nor the owner nor the registrant have No-Fault insurance, then you should file your claim for No-Fault benefits with the No-Fault insurance company for the operator, i.e., driver, of the vehicle you were occupying at the time of the accident. (MCL 500.3114(4)(b))
- Sixth priority: If there is no No-Fault insurance available through any of the above sources, then you should file your claim for No-Fault benefits with the Michigan Assigned Claims Facility. (MCL 500.3172(1))
In the coming weeks I will be posting more blogs about who pays for auto insurance befits in the other scenarios addressed by my questions above: for pedestrians or bicyclists, passengers in limos or shuttles, bus riders and taxi cab fares, or people driving in employer-owned vehicles.
- Steve Gursten is one of the nation’s top No-Fault lawyers handling auto accident lawsuits. He is head of Michigan Auto Law and president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. Steve frequently writes and speaks about Michigan No-Fault law and auto insurance, and is available for comment.
Related information to protect yourselves:
Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights. Call to speak with one of our Michigan No-Fault lawyers.