What Happens When A Motorcyclist Causes An Accident In Michigan?
If a motorcyclist causes an accident in Michigan and is sued in a lawsuit for personal injuries, he will be liable for all of the damages he causes. The motorcyclist’s insurance will provide legal representation and property protection insurance to the person whose property is damaged, if needed. This includes damages and claims that someone would normally be unable to collect if the injuries were suffered from an ordinary car or truck accident, as a motorcyclist is not required to carry Michigan No-Fault insurance and therefore, does not enjoy the immunity to tort liability for all medical bills and wage loss for the first three years that car drivers enjoy.
Also, a person suing a motorcyclist who is at-fault for an accident can sue for any injury because again, a motorcyclist is not required to carry no-fault insurance. Keep in mind, motorcyclists are required to carry motorcycle insurance.
No-Fault Benefits for Injured Motorcyclists
A motorcyclist who caused an accident is responsible for damages, regardless of the auto injury thresholds set forth by the Michigan No-Fault Act that normally apply to accidents caused by automobiles. (The auto injury thresholds say that someone injured in an auto accident must sustain serious impairment of body function, permanent serious disfigurement or death to receive damages in a lawsuit.) This is because according to Michigan case law, auto injury thresholds apply if the wrongdoer is operating a motor vehicle at the time of the accident. And according to the Michigan No-Fault Act, a motorcycle is specifically excluded as a “motor vehicle.”
Still, if a motorcyclist is involved in an accident with another vehicle, he is entitled to Michigan No-Fault benefits. There are two types of motorcycle accidents to consider when determining if Michigan No-Fault benefits will apply:
- Motorcycle accidents involving an automobile that is not parked: The motorcyclist will qualify for No-Fault benefits with one exception: If the motorcyclist is the “title owner” of the vehicle, he must have motorcycle insurance on his motorcycle, or he will be disqualified. Assuming the motorcycle is insured and there’s collision coverage on the motorcycle policy, that coverage will pay for the damage to the motorcycle. If the motorcyclist is at-fault for the accident, the motorcycle insurer will provide legal representation for the claim and will pay up to the liability policy limits to any injured parties. Other than that, the motorcycle insurer plays no part in paying Michigan No-Fault benefits.
- All other scenarios, including accidents with parked automobiles: The motorcycle owner can purchase optional motorcycle personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on their policy. Motorcycle PIP will cover accidental medical expenses, but is usually purchased in increments of $5,000, and is not the same coverage as provided by regular auto No-Fault (PIP) insurance.
Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help You
Michigan Auto Law has been exclusively handling auto negligence cases, including numerous motorcycle accident cases, for more than 50 years. 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. To speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer directly, please call us at (800) 777-0028 for a free case evaluation.
Did our motorcycle accident lawyers answer all of your questions about what happens when a motorcyclist causes a crash in Michigan? If not, please contact us and an attorney will respond within one business day.