Michigan No-Fault Parked Vehicle Exception: What You Need To Know
The Michigan No-Fault parked vehicle exception provides that only under very specific circumstances will a car accident victim be entitled to No-Fault PIP benefits after being injured in an auto accident involving a parked car. If the circumstances don’t exist, the injured person’s No-Fault claim will be denied.
When does the Michigan No-Fault parked vehicle exception apply?
If any one of the following circumstances exist, then the Michigan No-Fault parked vehicle exception will apply and the car accident victim injured in an auto accident involving a parked car will be able to collect No-Fault personal protection insurance benefits:
- The motor vehicle was “parked in such a way as to cause unreasonable risk of the bodily injury that occurred.” (MCL 500.3106(1)(a))
- The victim’s “injury was a direct result of physical contact with equipment permanently mounted on the vehicle, while the equipment was being operated or used,” or during “the loading and unloading process.” (MCL 500.3106(1)(b))
- The victim’s “injury was sustained” he or she was “occupying, entering into, or alighting from the vehicle.” (MCL 500.3106(1)(c))
Importantly, none of the circumstances that trigger exception require that the car accident victim be inside a car or truck, have the engine on or even be touching the automobile.
What kind of unreasonable risk triggers the Michigan No-Fault parked vehicle exception?
In its 2004 opinion in Stewart v. State of Michigan, a unanimous Michigan Supreme Court said the following about determining when and if a parked vehicle created the “unreasonable risk” required:
“The statutory language does not create a rule that whenever a motor vehicle is parked entirely or in part on a traveled portion of a road, the parked vehicle poses an unreasonable risk. . . . factors such as the manner, location, and fashion in which a vehicle is parked are material to determining whether the parked vehicle poses an unreasonable risk.”
What about alighting?
As for when a car accident victim is “alighting” or exiting an automobile, the Michigan Supreme Court in its 2011 ruling in Frazier v. Allstate Insurance Company had this to say about the Michigan No-Fault parked vehicle exception:
“[T]hat the injury must be sustained ‘while’ alighting indicates that ‘alighting’ does not occur in a single moment but occurs as a result of a process. The process begins when a person initiates the descent from a vehicle and is completed when an individual has effectively ‘descend[ed] from a vehicle’ and has ‘come to rest’ — when one has successfully transferred full control of one’s movement from reliance upon the vehicle to one’s body. This is typically accomplished when ‘both feet are firmly on the ground.'”
Injured and need a lawyer? Call Michigan Auto Law
If you have been injured in a car accident and you have questions about your legal rights to Michigan PIP benefits, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our experienced auto accident attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.