No-Fault Explained: Priority of Passengers

As a driver in a motor vehicle accident, your insurance claim may be straight forward. But when it comes to passengers, there are a lot of possible situations that could complicate your case. In determining which insurance company to file a claim with, your auto accident attorney will look at MCL  500.3114 establishing priority of passengers’ insurance claims.

Priority of Passengers’ Insurance Claims

If you are a passenger in a motor vehicle accident, there are several places you can turn to make sure your needs are met. Which one you should use depends on your personal situation.

1. Your Own Policy

If you own a vehicle with a Michigan no-fault auto insurance policy, that is the first place you turn for coverage. That’s true even if you weren’t the driver and it wasn’t in your car. There are exceptions (some of which are described below), but generally you turn to your own policy first.

2. Spouse or Resident Relative

If you don’t have a policy but a relative you live with does, that auto insurance company will be responsible for your First Party claims. This is how most children’s injuries are covered after an accident.

3. Owner of Occupied Vehicle

If no one in your household has a policy, you can claim benefits from the insurance company that covers the vehicle you were riding in at the time of the accident. The claim is filed based on the owner or registrant of that vehicle.

4. Driver of Occupied Vehicle

If the car you were in was uninsured, but the driver had a no-fault policy, you can file a claim with his or her auto insurer.

5. Owner or Driver of the Other Vehicle

If you are riding in an uninsured vehicle, the priority of passengers then passes to the other vehicle. You can file a claim on the owner’s policy, or on the driver’s policy, in that order. This step also applies in bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents.

6. Assigned Claims Facility

If there is no other way to cover your auto accident injuries, your case will be sent to the assigned claims facility, which will direct one of the state’s no-fault providers to pay for your medical expenses.

Exceptions to Priority

If you are in a company vehicle or a paid passenger vehicle, you skip the priority of passengers and go straight to the insurer of that vehicle. But not all passenger vehicles avoid priority issues. You still use the steps above if you are injured while riding:

  • A school bus.
  • A department of transportation bus.
  • A government sponsored transportation program bus.
  • A bus for a nonprofit organization.
  • A taxicab.
  • A bus used to transport you to and from a watercraft, bicycle, or horse riding destination point.

The priority of passengers’ auto insurance claims is not an easy thing to determine on your own. Before you file a claim with any insurance company, meet with the experienced auto accident attorneys at Christensen Law to make sure you get the right one.