How does Michigan’s No-Fault law apply to a bus accident?
An explanation of the interplay between Michigan No-Fault and your bus crash, for easier facilitation of your PIP benefits
The main purpose of Michigan’s No-Fault system is to guarantee payment of certain economic benefits to victims of motor vehicle accidents — regardless of fault. Therefore, bus accident victims are entitled to make a claim for Michigan No-Fault benefits, also called personal injury protection (PIP) benefits.
The No-Fault benefits you may be entitled to include reimbursement for medical expenses and mileage to medical appointments, lost wages, nursing attendant care and replacement services (help with children and around the house).
Michigan’s No-Fault law has created a system where accident victims have two separate claims:
- A first-party claim for No-Fault benefits, and
- A third-party tort liability claim against the party that’s at fault for the accident. The third-party claim allows accident victims to collect non-economic damages, but requires a certain level of injury to sustain a claim
It’s important that you take action filing your claims as soon as possible, as different insurance policies have different notification requirements that are separate from the deadlines put in place by the legislature under the No-Fault Act.
On top of that, the Bus Notice Provision requires that a bus accident victim who intends to make a claim with a regional transportation authority (such as DDOT, SMART, CATA, etc.) serve WRITTEN notice to the bus company within 60 days of the accident.
The legislative deadlines in place with regards to the No-Fault Act require that an accident victim’s first-party claim for PIP benefits be filed within one year of the accident and the third-party claim against the person (or bus company) at-fault for the accident be filed within three years of the accident.
Here’s more information on each of your potential claims after a bus accident in Michigan.
Which insurance company is responsible for No-Fault benefits after a bus accident?
The trickier but important part of a bus accident victim’s first-party No-Fault case is determining which insurance company will be responsible for covering your benefits. Under Michigan law, a person involved in a crash generally files a claim with his or her insurance company to obtain benefits.
However, there are situations where a victim does not have insurance of his or her own, and therefore the law sets up an “order of priority,” in which it dictates which insurance company will be responsible. (MCL 500.3114) The order of priority, meaning which insurance company is going to be responsible for paying your No-Fault benefits after a bus accident, is as follows:
- The insurance policy in which the accident victim is named (your own policy)
- A spouse or relative’s insurance policy that lives with the accident victim
- The insurer of the owner/registrant of the vehicle (if you were injured on a bus then the owner/registrant’s insurance company would be responsible)
- The insurer of the operator of the vehicle (if you were injured on a bus and the owner AND registrant were not insured, then the insurance of the bus operator would be responsible)
- The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP) which is administered by the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility (MAIPF).
What about No-Fault if I’m in a bus accident on my bike or as a pedestrian?
What happens if you’re in a situation and the above order of priority does not leave you covered? For instance, what if a bus hits you when you’re on your bike or walking across the street? In such situations, the legislature has set forth an order of priority.
The following order of priority applies in the instance you were injured in a bus accident and you were not in a vehicle, and you are not insured on a No-Fault policy (and you do not live with a spouse or relative that’s insured on a No-Fault policy):
- The insurer of the owner or registrant of the vehicle involved would be responsible (if you were crossing the street and hit by a bus, the bus owner’s insurance policy would be responsible)
- The insurer of the operator of the vehicle involved would be responsible (if you were hit by a bus crossing the street, and the owner and registrant of the vehicle is not insured, then the bus driver’s insurance would cover your No-Fault benefits)
- Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP), which is administered by the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility (MAIPF).