As confusing as Michigan’s No-Fault system is to automobile drivers, the insurance laws for motorcyclists are even more complex. Surprisingly, motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles according to the Michigan Insurance Code because they have fewer than three wheels. Therefore, if a motorcyclist is injured in a crash, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible. And, when the motorcyclist or another driver involved in the accident is not adequately insured, the confusion multiplies.
Following is an overview of the potential consequences of a motorcycle accident without insurance. However, to protect your rights and receive the compensation you deserve, it is wise to consult an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
Michigan law requires all motorcycle owners to have a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover harm to other people or property. This coverage protects the motorcyclist in case of an accident where another person is injured or killed, or when the motorcyclist causes damage to another person’s property.
The minimum insurance requirements for motorcyclists are as follows:
In addition, motorcyclists who choose to ride without a helmet must carry a minimum of $20,000 of medical insurance coverage. Further, a motorcyclist must carry at least $20,000 of medical benefits for each passenger riding without a helmet unless the passenger has their own medical insurance benefits of $20,000 or more.
Under Michigan law, it is a misdemeanor to operate a motorcycle without the required liability insurance. Depending on the circumstances, a motorcyclist found riding without insurance may be fined $200 – $500 and/or face up to one year in jail.
However, these penalties only apply to the act of operating a motorcycle without insurance. An uninsured motorcyclist who causes an accident or disobeys a traffic law may be charged with other violations and penalized accordingly.
In addition, a motorcyclist without insurance who is injured in an accident with another vehicle cannot receive No-Fault benefits.
Recommended reading: What Every Biker Should Know: A Basic Guide to Michigan Motorcycle Laws
This depends on the type of motorcycle accident and whether it involved a motor vehicle such as a car or truck. Here are some examples of how liability is assigned in various situations where there is no insurance coverage. However, since every case is different, it’s important to contact a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer if you or a loved one is injured in a crash.
These accidents include hitting a deer or a tree, or losing control and crashing due to speed, weather or slippery pavement. In this case, the injured motorcyclist would seek reimbursement for medical care from their own health insurance policy.
In this case, an insured motorcyclist is entitled to receive Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits under the No-Fault policy covering the vehicle or the motorcycle, depending on circumstances.
An insured motorcyclist may claim PIP benefits according to the following order of priority:
1) The No-Fault policy* covering the owner of the motor vehicle involved in the accident
2) If the vehicle owner has no insurance, the motorcyclist may seek reimbursement from the No-Fault policy* covering the driver of the motor vehicle
3) If neither involved party has insurance, the motorcyclist may claim benefits under their own No-Fault automobile policy* or that of a spouse or relative in the same household
4) If the motorcycle operator does not have No-Fault coverage and the motorcycle is owned by someone else, the injured motorcyclist may claim PIP benefits under the motorcycle owner’s No-Fault automobile policy*
5) If there is no available coverage from any of the above sources, the motorcyclist can seek reimbursement from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan up to a maximum of $250,000
*Reimbursement of medical benefits is capped at the PIP coverage limits on the involved motor vehicle’s auto policy.
A motorcyclist who does not have the mandated liability insurance is prohibited from claiming Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits under any No-Fault policy. However, if they are less than 50% at fault for the accident, an uninsured motorcyclist may sue the driver of the motor vehicle for non-economic damages. These include intangible losses such as pain and suffering and other after-effects resulting from a severe or permanently disabling injury.
This is one of many reasons to contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible, even if you were riding without insurance.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, we can help. Because many of our lawyers ride, we understand the pleasures and pitfalls of motorcycling. We know what it takes to win your case, and we will put our collective legal expertise and extensive resources to work for you. Once we start your case, we won’t stop until we win the compensation you and your family deserve.
Motorcycle accident law is complicated, but finding the right Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer is simple.
Don’t let the legal clock run out. Start your case today by filling out the brief form below. Or, call 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation remote consultation from the comfort and safety of your home.
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