Michigan Motorcycle Accident Law: What You Should Know
June 5, 2019
Motorcycle season has arrived, and bikers are ready to enjoy the warm weather and picturesque Michigan roads. While motorcyclists strive to ride safely and obey traffic laws; accidents do happen. And, unfortunately, bikers can sustain life-threatening injuries if they’re in a serious accident. Furthermore, the Michigan no-fault system is complex, especially when it comes to motorcycle accident law.
Does Michigan No-Fault Insurance Cover Motorcycle Accidents?
Many people don’t realize that motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles under Michigan no-fault law. Therefore, motorcyclists don’t have the same insurance coverage options as automobile owners.
The biggest coverage difference lies in the area of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, which are included in every driver’s no-fault policy. These benefits provide unlimited lifetime coverage of necessary medical expenses to motorists who are injured in a crash. Accident victims are also covered for rehabilitation, attendant care, lost wages and replacement services such as household help. PIP benefits are not included in most basic motorcycle policies, which only provide liability coverage. However, motorcycle owners can purchase optional no-fault insurance, also known as motorcycle PIP coverage, in $5,000 increments.
What Are the Insurance Requirements for Michigan Motorcyclists?
Under Michigan motorcycle accident law, all motorcycle owners must have a minimum amount of liability insurance. This coverage provides protection when a motorcyclist is involved in an accident where another person is injured or killed. It also covers certain costs when a motorcyclist causes damage to other people’s property.
Motorcycle owners must carry the following minimum amounts of liability insurance:
- $20,000 for bodily injuries or death involving one person in a single accident
- $40,000 for bodily injuries or deaths involving more than one person in a single accident
- $10,000 for property damage in a single accident
In addition, most insurance companies offer bikers the option of purchasing additional amounts of liability coverage.
How Do Helmets Affect Motorcycle Insurance Laws?
With certain exceptions and conditions, motorcyclists are not required to wear helmets in Michigan. However, those who choose to ride without a helmet must carry a minimum of $20,000 of medical insurance coverage. In addition, motorcyclists must have $20,000 (minimum) of medical benefits for each passenger riding without a helmet. If those passengers have their own medical insurance benefits of $20,000 or more, the motorcycle owner may not have to purchase additional coverage.
Who is Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident With an Automobile?
Motorcyclists injured in an accident with a motor vehicle are usually compensated by the no-fault policy covering that vehicle. In some cases, the injured motorcyclist may recover benefits from the policy held by the driver of the at-fault vehicle (when the driver has coverage separate from the vehicle owner’s policy). Additionally, motorcyclists who also own an insured automobile may receive benefits from the no-fault policy that covers their motor vehicle.
Who is Responsible When a Motor Vehicle is Not Involved?
The laws are different when a motorcyclist is hurt in an accident that doesn’t involve another vehicle. For instance, a biker may crash into another motorcycle or a stationary object such as a tree or deer. In those situations, the injured motorcyclist is not eligible for no-fault benefits. When no insurance is available, an injured driver or motorcyclist may be eligible to file a claim with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP).
What Can Motorcyclists Do to Protect Themselves?
Here are some steps bikers can take to lessen their liability if they are involved in an accident:
- Purchase additional motorcycle liability insurance
- Purchase optional PIP motorcycle coverage
- Purchase other optional coverages such as collision and comprehensive coverage
“Many of our attorneys ride motorcycles, so we understand bikers and we’re experts in motorcycle accident law,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “Call us right away if you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle crash, we will fight to get you the compensation you and your family deserves.”
Motorcycle accident law is complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple.
Get the Bernstein Biker Advantage.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.