How does No Fault reform affect motorcycle insurance? Snyder’s HB 4612 discriminates against responsible motorcycle owners, caps medical at $250,000
Imagine you are riding a motorcycle safely and responsibly. Suddenly a car swerves into your lane and hits you. You suffer terrible, life-altering injuries. You will never be able to return to work, and you will now require lifetime medical care.
But your medical care will now be arbitrarily capped at $250,000, if Gov. Rick Snyder has his way with proposed No Fault reform bill HB 4612.
After that $250,000 is quickly exhausted (probably in the first few months if you have suffered a very serious brain injury or spinal cord injury), you will be forced onto Medicaid to pay for the rest of your medical needs. That is, after you’ve already wiped out your entire life-savings paying for your medical needs after going through the new No Fault cap for motorcycle owners in Michigan. And once you are on Medicaid, you will most likely be “warehoused” in a cost-containment nursing home, where you will receive the bare minimum of care.
Gov. Snyder’s new No Fault reform proposal, House Bill 4612, was introduced by Rep. Pete Lund (R-36th District) on April 23, 2013. In HB 4612, Gov. Snyder takes an axe to motorcyclists’ No Fault medical benefits (also known as “allowable expenses”), capping them at $250,000 (See page 34).
This is in sharp contrast with the $1 million dollars that he is proposing for people seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents.
And it is a world away from what we have now. Today, a seriously injured motorcycle operator injured in a car-motorcycle crash has unlimited, lifetime No medical benefits for all necessary medical care. This is the same right that motorcycle owners have had for nearly 40 years in this state.
It does beg the question: does Governor Snyder hate motorcycle owners? This proposed No Fault bill serves as an interesting one-two punch to responsible motorcycle owners.
First, Gov. Snyder repealed the Michigan motorcycle helmet law. That means that now motorcyclists are far more at risk for suffering a catastrophic injury or death as a result of a crash with a car or truck. See “Report: 21% reduction in motorcycle deaths if Michigan had helmet mandate.” The early results are now clear: the motorcycle helmet law is causing more deaths, more serious injuries and higher medical bills.
And now, when motorcyclists’ need for catastrophic medical coverage is at its greatest (thanks to Gov. Snyder and the helmet law repeal), the governor wants to single out motorcycle owners as a group and lower medical protection coverage for them.
I have many motorcycle owners who are regular readers of this blog. I have enjoyed the debate that I have with those on both sides of the helmet law, even though I am strongly in the camp of those that believe the motorcycle helmet law repeal was a terrible mistake.
And as a lawyer, I’ve probably helped more people seriously injured in motorcycle accidents than any other lawyer in Michigan over the past 20 years, so I’ve seen first-hand how horrific the personal injuries can be from car-motorcycle crashes. It should be noted that a great number of these are motorcycle accidents are not caused by the motorcycle operator, but by the driver – who never sees a motorcycle operator that is clearly there to be seen.
This causes motorcycle operators to account for 5% of all money paid out by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, even though motorcyclists account for only approximately 2% of the assessments paid into the MCCA. So it makes little sense to me how after first ignoring the undisputed facts and risks of repealing Michigan’s helmet law, Gov. Snyder now wants to eliminate motorcycle owners’ rights to medical care by reducing it to 1/4th the amount of medical care he’s proposing in HB 4612.
For more information, click here to read a comprehensive analysis of Michigan No Fault reform and the latest developments.