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No-Fault Explained: Motor Vehicle Accident

You know if you are driving and get into an accident, your no-fault insurance covers you. But what about while you are getting out of your car? What if you are hurt changing your oil? What counts as a motor vehicle accident?

Was it an Accident?

Your Michigan no-fault auto insurance applies to accidental bodily injury. Before you can receive any benefits there needs to have been a motor vehicle accident. That means:

  1. You can’t receive benefits for intentional acts (including someone running into you on purpose). There are other ways to receive compensation for intentional injuries, but they do not come from your insurance.
  2. You can’t receive benefits for accumulated injuries, like back pain from too much driving. However, you can be compensated if an incident aggravates an existing injury.

Did it “Arise Out of” the Use of a Motor Vehicle?

Michigan law only requires no-fault insurance benefits for an injury “arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.” In other words, if the use of a motor vehicle caused the injury.

For example, if a driver suffers a heart attack while driving, his no-fault insurance doesn’t have to pay for the heart surgery. However, if because of that heart attack his car swerved and hit a cement median, he would be entitled to benefits for the bruising, broken bones, or head injury suffered because of the collision.

The “arising out of” requirement allows for compensation in some cases that might not usually be considered part of “driving.” For example, if a woman has parked her car in a spot parallel to the road and is struck by a passing car as she tries to exit the vehicle, she is still covered. Even if she had simply slipped, she could still be entitled to compensation, depending on whether the vehicle or the fall caused the injury.

Maintenance of a Motor Vehicle

Every vehicle requires maintenance and repairs sometimes. The good news for DIY-ers is that you are covered in case of accidents during those repairs. For example, you are covered if a jack fails while changing your tire and the car crushes your foot.

Using a Motor Vehicle as a Motor Vehicle

The No-Fault Act requires the injured person to have been using “the motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.” When a car or truck is used to transport people or things, that counts. The law excludes unusual cases when a person uses a vehicle for some other purpose.

For example, if a man is trying to clean his gutters but does not own a tall enough ladder, he might place a ladder in the bed of his pick up truck. If he then falls off of his ladder and injures himself, his no-fault insurance won’t be any help.

The auto accident attorneys at Christensen Law know how to prove your injuries were part of a motor vehicle accident. If you aren’t sure, contact Christensen Law for a consultation.