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What happens when two motorcyclists collide?

August 25, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan motorcycle accident attorney explains how insurance works in this common motorcycle crash scenario

I’ve written about different types of motorcycle accidents and how a biker’s insurance would apply. But I missed one common scenario – when two motorcyclists collide with each other. This subject came up again just last week, when two riders were tragically killed.

I address this type of crash today because people usually have an image of a motorcycle accident that involves a motorcycle rider being hit by a car, but because many bikers ride together, this type of crash happens more often than people think.

According to the Bay City Times, a 49 year old man from Armada, Michigan was riding his motorcycle east on West Center Road at around 9 p.m. The man collided with a motorcycle driven by man from Bay City, who was heading west on Center.

Both men were pronounced dead at the scene. Our attorneys extend our deepest sympathies to the families of these two men.

Because our motorcycle accident lawyers have handled similar cases, we’d like to explain how insurance coverage works when two motorcycle riders are injured or killed in a crash with each other:

There is no auto No-Fault (PIP) coverage for any type of accident or crash involving two motorcycles. This is because under Michigan No-Fault law, motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles and therefore are not covered under No-Fault. It is possible to purchase motorcycle PIP, generally in increments of $5,000. Unfortunately, motorcycle insurance is very expensive, and many riders go bare – without any insurance.

But other than motorcycle PIP insurance, there is essentially no other protection or coverage unless the motorcyclist(s) have their own at-fault motorcylist’s insurance police to pay some or all of their medical bills.

If injury or death occurs as a result from such a motorcycle accident, the damages are paid to the victim by the at-fault motorcyclist’s liability insurance policy. Without liability insurance, the biker who caused the crash is responsible for all losses and harms he or she caused. There is no injury threshold in a motorcycle accident, which is very different from Michigan’s threshold law for other types of motor vehicle accidents.

Without No-Fault or health insurance, most injured motorcycle riders end up on Medicaid, which has its own challenges, especially if there is a catastrophic traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. Most riders do not have significant personal assets to pay the full measure of the harms they have caused as well, which makes it harder to get a full and fair injury settlement for victims of negligence when two motorcycle riders collide.

Just a reminder: Visit Facebook.com/MichiganAutoLaw now to enter to win a $1,032 check as part of our distracted driving awareness campaign.

The winner can do whatever he or she wishes with the check, but we hope the winner will use it for a year’s worth of the right type of insurance – which our insurance lawyers will be happy to recommend – to best protect yourself and your family in case of an accident.

Steven M. Gursten is a motorcycle accident attorney and partner of Michigan Auto Law. He received the highest motorcycle accident settlement in Michigan last year, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Steve has spoken at trial seminars on motorcycle lawsuits, and is available for comment on Michigan’s motorcycle helmet laws.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by ElvertBarnes

Related information to protect yourself:

Motorcycle helmet law repeal will result in more injuries deaths and costs

Choosing a safe motorcycle helmet

What to do after a motorcycle crash in Michigan

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 to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our motorcycle accident attorneys.

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