Michigan is one of about a dozen states with no-fault auto insurance, and it’s recognized as unique because it is so far (and still) the only state system that provides for unlimited benefits for medical and rehabilitation expenses.
The system provides numerous other benefits, including for lost wages and vehicle replacement coverage, but it operates as a trade-off: The system works because all drivers are required to be a part of it, and in exchange for the benefits, drivers give up their right to sue in car crashes except in a few extreme cases.
This system applies to car drivers, but what about others on the road? Are motorcyclists covered, for instance, and if so, to what extent? If they’re not covered, what benefits (if any) do they get from the state’s no-fault system?
Motorcycles Are Not Motor Vehicles
What? That sounds crazy, but under Michigan’s no-fault insurance law, motorcycles are specifically excluded as motor vehicles. That means that by statute motorcycle operators are unable to buy the unlimited personal injury protection (PIP) coverage available to others.
This doesn’t mean they can operate without insurance, however. They’re still required to buy liability coverage for property damage, injury, and death that they might cause in an accident—essentially the same coverage used by states that don’t have no-fault systems.
Riding Without a Helmet: More Insurance is Required
There’s another wrinkle for bikers that other drivers don’t have to worry about. Michigan allows bikers (and their passengers) over the age of twenty-one to go without helmets if they have enough documented motorcycle experience or pass a safety course.
But if they choose that option, they also have to show proof of additional medical insurance to cover any injuries they might suffer. Those injuries are no joke: The number and severity of injuries as well as the number of fatalities has risen since Michigan’s helmet law was largely repealed in 2012.
But What if Someone Hits Me?
If a car or truck driver causes the crash (not another motorcycle), no-fault might apply—as long as the motorist and the biker have the correct state-mandated coverage. The motorcyclist will then be covered by the driver’s no-fault policy. If you also have car insurance (on another vehicle), that might come into play. Even when no-fault doesn’t apply, you might be able to sue for negligence.
There are exceptions—one of which is when a motorist has no insurance. That’s why uninsured motorist coverage is recommended for both drivers and bikers.
Detroit Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycle operators begin at a disadvantage when filing accident claims in Michigan, and state insurance laws and regulations can make it even more difficult to win compensation for your injuries.
An experienced Detroit motorcycle accident lawyer can help you successfully navigate the system and get the justice you deserve. Call the team at Christensen Law today at 248-213-4900 or contact us online through the form below to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.