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Medical Coverage For Motorcycle Accident: What To Know

June 1, 2021 by Steven M. Gursten

Medical coverage for a motorcycle accident has recently changed. Now, if you are involved in a motorcycle accident and injured in a crash with a car or truck, your medical coverage for your injuries will likely come from: (1) No-Fault PIP from the insurance company of the driver who caused the crash; or (2) first-party medical benefits in your motorcycle insurance policy.

Currently, if you are riding a motorcycle and injured by a negligent driver, you are at the mercy of whatever PIP limits that driver has. You can have the best PIP coverage available, and it wouldn’t matter because whatever the insurance limits are of the driver who caused your crash, that insurance would have higher priority under our auto No-Fault law than your own insurance PIP coverage limits. However, important new legislation that was introduced on May 6, 2021 and is now pending in the Michigan House of Representatives proposes to give motorcyclists control over their No-Fault medical coverage for a motorcycle accident making the insurance company of the operator and owner of the motorbike involved in the crash have higher priority than the insurance company of the at-fault driver. If enacted, the bill would change Michigan’s current law which provides that the first two options for No-Fault insurance for a motorbike crash are the owner and driver of the car or truck involved in the crash.

What is No-Fault medical coverage for a motorcycle accident?

No-Fault medical coverage for a motorcycle accident are the PIP benefits available under Michigan’s No-Fault auto insurance law to motorcyclists who have been injured in an accident with a car or truck. These insurance benefits pay for your hospital, doctor, surgery and other medical care-related costs and expenses.

Your No-Fault insurance may also cover your transportation costs for traveling to and from medical appointments as well as any attendant care that your doctor prescribes.

To recover your No-Fault medical benefits, you must file an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called a “written notice of injury” – with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year after the crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))

Filing the application for No-Fault benefits – and filing it on time – is extremely important because the failure to do so will give the insurance company a legal basis to deny all No-Fault benefits that you would have otherwise been entitled to.

Sources of No-Fault medical coverage for a motorcycle accident

If you were driving or riding a motorbike and you are injured by a car or truck, you may recover No-Fault medical coverage for motorcycle accident from: (1) the insurer of the vehicle’s owner or operator; (2) the auto insurer of the motorcycle’s operator or owner; or (3) the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.

Here is more detail about the order of priority for your sources of No-Fault insurance if you were driving or riding on a motorbike when you were injured in an automobile crash:

  • Injured motorbike drivers or riders will first seek No-Fault benefits from the “insurer” of the “owner” of the car or truck “involved in the accident.” (MCL 500.3114(5)(a))
  • Injured motorbike drivers or riders will next seek No-Fault benefits from the “insurer” of the “operator” of the car or truck “involved in the accident.” (MCL 500.3114(5)(b))
  • Injured motorbike drivers or riders will then seek No-Fault benefits from the “motor vehicle insurer of the operator of the motorbike involved in the accident.” (MCL 500.3114(5)(c))
  • Injured motorbike drivers or riders will then seek No-Fault benefits from the “motor vehicle insurer of the owner or registrant of the motorbike involved in the accident.” (MCL 500.3114(5)(d))
  • If no No-Fault medical coverage for motorcycle accident is available through any of these sources, then an injured motorcyclist will have to file a claim for No-Fault benefits with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. (MCL 500.3114(6))

Legislation proposes changes

House Bill 4809 proposes that injured motorcyclists will only have three potential sources for No-Fault medical coverage for motorcycle accident: (1) the “motor vehicle insurer” for the motorbike’s “operator”; (2) the auto insurer for the motorbike’s “owner”; or (3) the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.

Presumably, the proposed change is intended to give motorcyclists more control over the No-Fault insurance that may be available to them in the event they are injured in a crash with a car or truck. A motorbike operator or rider will know or could easily find out in advance about the No-Fault insurance of the motorbike’s owner or operator and, thus, make an informed choice about whether to go out on the road on the motorbike. That same kind of informed choice cannot be made, however, with regard to all of the drivers of cars and trucks that may be encountered out on the road – especially now that the law no longer requires all drivers to carry unlimited No-Fault medical benefits.

HB 4809 proposes no changes to limiting an injured motorcyclist’s No-Fault insurance to the level selected in the policy through which benefits are sought or to the maximum allowable through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.

House Bill 4809 was introduced on May 6, 2021 and referred to the House Insurance Committee. No action has yet been taken by the Committee or the full House.

Average medical cost of motorbike crash

There is no federal or state database that keeps track of the average medical cost of a motorbike crash. However, serious or catastrophic injuries can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars – even millions – for ER visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, spinal cord and TBI rehabilitation and attendant care services.

Amount of No-Fault medical coverage for motorcycle accident

The amount of No-Fault medical coverage for motorcycle accident that will be available to you will depend on and be limited to the No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage level that was selected in the auto insurance policy through which you must claim No-Fault medical benefits. (MCL 500.3107c(5))

The level that will apply to your No-Fault medical benefits claim will be one of the following: (1) $50,000 (for drivers on Medicaid); (2) $250,000; (3) $500,000; or (4) unlimited.

One of the aspects of the law that many motorcyclists find frustrating is that their No-Fault medical coverage for motorcycle accident is not determined by the level that they chose in their own personal auto insurance policies, but rather by the level that was chosen by owners or operators of the cars, trucks and motorbikes involved in the crash.

Additionally, an injured motorbike driver or rider who must seek No-Fault benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan is subject to a $250,000 cap on his or her treatment. (MCL 500.3114(6); 500.3172(7)(a); 500.3107c(1)(b))

Prior to the No-Fault reform law that was passed in 2019, none of the limits above existed because all drivers were required to carry and all auto insurance companies were required to provide unlimited No-Fault insurance.

Does medical insurance cover motorbike crashes?

No-Fault insurance will cover motorbike crashes involving a car or truck. First-party medical benefits purchased in a motorbike insurance policy will also provide treatment. There may also be treatment through an injured motorcyclist’s health insurance.

First-party benefits

Alternative sources of medical coverage for motorcycle accident include: (1) optional first-party medical benefits that motorbike insurers must offer to all motorcyclists; and (2) the first-party medical benefits that motorcyclists are required to carry if they choose to ride without a helmet.

The optional “first-party medical benefits” that motorbike insurers must offer to motorcyclists – but that motorcyclists are NOT required to purchase – are available in $5,000 increments of coverage. (MCL 500.3103(2))

The required “first-party medical benefits” for motorcyclists without helmets (only motorcyclists that are 21 or older can ride without a helmet) must be for at least $20,000 worth of coverage. (MCL 257.658(5)(b) and (c))

Motorbike crash medical bills

An injured motorcyclist’s medical bills could be paid by one or more of the following sources: (1) No-Fault insurance (for motorbike crashes involving a car or truck); (2) motorcyclist’s first-party medical benefits; (3) health insurance; (4) Medicaid or Medicaid; or (5) pay out-of-pocket.

Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident with a car or truck in Michigan and have questions about your medical coverage, you can speak to an experienced injury attorney at (800) 777-0028  for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced accident attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.

Medical Coverage For Motorcycle Accident: What To Know

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