No-Fault Explained: Priority for Pedestrians & Bicyclists

After a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident, it may be hard to understand how no-fault insurance fits in to your situation. The Michigan No-Fault Act sets out which insurance policy has priority to pay for non-occupants’ injuries.

Anytime you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, no-fault insurance applies – whether or not you are the one in the car. Just like in passenger cases, the first place you should turn after an accident is your own no-fault insurance policy, if you have one.

A lot of pedestrians and bicyclists are walking or riding because they do not have ready access to a vehicle. If no relatives in your household have a no-fault insurance policy you may think you are out of luck. But the law says otherwise.

Under MCL 500.3115, the priority of non-occupants depends on the vehicles involved in the accident. When there isn’t a no-fault policy in the household, the next priority is:

  1. The insurance company that covers the owner of the vehicle; and then
  2. The insurance company that covers the driver of the vehicle.

When more than one automobile is involved, the case gets a little more complicated. Two insurance providers can have the same priority. For example, if a pedestrian is caught between two vehicles, both of which are insured by their owners, both of those insurance companies will have to pay.

How much each company pays is up to the court. After one insurance provider pays for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other no-fault benefits, it can ask the court to order “partial recoupment.” That means the judge can spread out the money between each company on the same level of priority.

This won’t affect how much money you should receive. But it could affect where that money comes from. No matter how many insurance providers are at the table, your benefits will be based on your injuries and expenses. Caps on your claims won’t change just because more than one vehicle is involved.

After a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident, it may be hard to know where to file your no-fault insurance claim. The auto accident attorneys at Christensen Law will help you sort through your options and file claims and lawsuits against the right priority insurance company.