A motorcycle is not considered a motor vehicle in Michigan, according to the no-fault law. MCL 500.3101(2)(e) requires that a vehicle have more than two wheels to be considered a motor vehicle. Our motorcycle accident lawyers believe this requirement was meant to exclude motorcycles, therefore exempting motorcyclists involved in crashes from the legal requirement to purchase no-fault insurance coverage. Keep in mind, motorcyclists are still required by law to carry motorcycle insurance.
Although a motorcycle is not considered a motor vehicle under Michigan law, motorcycle accidents often involve other cars and trucks on the road. As such, Michigan no-fault insurance benefits will generally be available to Michigan motorcycle accident victims — unless they are the title-owner of the motorcycle and do not have motorcycle insurance. These benefits are designed to provide:
Michigan law only allows one year to file a claim for no-fault benefits after a motorcycle accident. This is called a first-party claim. The terms first-party, no-fault and personal injury protection are interchangeable.
Michigan law allows three years to file a lawsuit for pain and suffering and excess economic loss against a negligent driver who causes a motorcycle accident. This is referred to as a third-party, or tort claim.
In an accident where the at-fault driver is never identified, an uninsured motorist claim would be made with the insurer of the vehicle the victim was operating or occupying at the time of the accident. With an uninsured motorist claim, an injured motorcyclist turns to his own auto insurance company to pay what would have been recovered from the at-fault driver, had that person been properly covered. An uninsured motorist claim is a contract claim not a statutory claim, and is therefore, not governed by Michigan motorcycle insurance law. The time a motorcyclist may have to file a lawsuit will vary depending on the insurance policy. For example, a motorcyclist filing an uninsured motorist claim may have far less time to file a lawsuit than the normal three years under Michigan statutory law against a negligent driver. Please examine your motorcycle insurance policy carefully. Remember that most insurance policies also require physical contact with the unidentified vehicle before an uninsured motorist claim can be filed.
The motorcycle accident lawyers of Michigan auto law have handled more serious motor vehicle accident cases than any other Michigan law firm. We can help Michigan motorcycle accident victims and their family members better understand motorcycle insurance laws and what happens after someone has been seriously injured in a crash. If you would like to speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer directly, please call us at (800) 777-0028 for a free case evaluation.