When Auto Insurers Must Pay Michigan No-Fault Benefits
Lawyer Commentary on No-Fault Statute: MCL 500.3105
Insurer liable for personal protection benefits without regard to fault; “bodily injury” and “accidental bodily injury” defined
This highly litigated statute details when a person who has been seriously injured in an auto accident may receive Michigan No-Fault (PIP) insurance benefits. It contains four very important provisions that are discussed below. It’s important to understand the terms contained in each provision.
Liability To Pay No-Fault Benefits
An insurer is liable to pay No-Fault PIP benefits for accidental bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.
Fault Does Not Matter
Insurance benefits under Michigan’s No-Fault law are due to and collectible by a car accident victim “without regard to fault.” This is why Michigan No-Fault law is called “No-Fault.” Simply put, it means that even if the injured person is responsible – or “at-fault” – for causing a serious auto accident, he or she will still receive No-Fault insurance benefits.
“Bodily injury” means an injury results from a “single injury producing event.” For example, a back injury caused by many years of driving a truck is not considered a bodily injury within the meaning of the No-Fault Act because it was not attributable to a single event. However, a back injury caused by a car accident would be considered a “bodily injury” under the definition of the Michigan No Fault law. The bodily injury must involve, in some way, a motor vehicle.
Bodily Injury Must Be Accidental
“Bodily injury” does not include an injury that the claimant inflicts intentionally upon him- or herself.
However, if the injured person acts or refrains from acting in order to avoid personal injury to another person, including him- or herself, and injures him- or herself in the process, this will not be considered “intentional” injury under Michigan law.
Although this point is not specifically addressed in the statute, MCL 500.3015, it is important to not that the No-Fault Act does not require an actual collision between two automobiles. It does require that a motor vehicle be involved in the injury-causing event. For example, a person injured while exiting his car or truck may recover Michigan No-Fault insurance benefits under Michigan law. But a person who is not “in contact” with the vehicle, even if it is only a few feet away, cannot recover such benefits.
Motorcycle Accident with Car or Truck
A motorcyclist who suffers serious injury as the result of a motorcycle accident that does not involve a car or truck cannot recover Michigan No-Fault benefits. A motorcyclist who suffers serious injury as the result of a motorcycle accident with a car or truck will receive benefits.
Personal Injury Related to Auto Accident
A personal injury is “accidental” unless the person suffers injury as the result of a deliberate or intentional act.
There must be a “causal link” between the injury and the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of the motor vehicle for the injury to be “arising out of” the use of the motor vehicle as a motor vehicle. In other words, the personal injury would not have happened without the use of the car or truck.
Use of a motor vehicle “as a motor vehicle” means that the injury must be closely related to the transportation function of the car or truck. For example, a person who is injured while sleeping in a camper attached to his parked pick-up truck would not be covered under the Michigan No-Fault Act because the injury was due to sleeping, and not due to the truck being used as a truck as is contemplated by Michigan insurance laws.
Insurance Lawyers of Michigan Auto Law
The lawyers of Michigan Auto Law have been specializing in automobile no-fault litigation for more than 50 years. If you have been injured in an auto accident and need help navigating your no-fault insurance policy, please call one of our expert attorneys for a free case evaluation at (800) 777-0028 or fill out our consultation form. There is absolutely no fee or obligation.
We are here to help you.