Unfortunately, knowing where to file insurance claims after a motorcycle accident isn’t always easy. Picking the right insurance company can depend on choices you made for coverage years earlier, whether there was a motor vehicle involved in the crash, and even who you lived with at the time of the accident. Picking the right attorney to help you maneuver through these insurance questions is even more critical.
Personal Injury Protection Is Optional For Motorcycle Insurance
Every Michigan motorcyclist is legally required to maintain liability insurance for their motorcycle; however, personal injury protection (PIP) is optional. PIP is the coverage that pays for medical expenses, time off work, and other losses related to injuries you suffer in a crash. Liability insurance only applies to harm done to others or their property.
After a motorcycle accident, you will only be able to turn to your own motorcycle insurance provider if you chose to opt in to PIP coverage. Even then, the amount you receive could be limited by the cap on the policy you chose. That is, unless there was a motor vehicle involved in your crash.
When Cars Hit Motorcycles, No-Fault Insurance Questions Arise
PIP insurance for motorcycles may be optional, but not for motor vehicles. Michigan’s mandatory no-fault auto insurance provides unlimited coverage for medical expenses resulting from a motor vehicle accident, as well as up to three years of lost wages and replacement services. Those benefits apply any time a motor vehicle is involved in an accident, even when the person filing the claim wasn’t in the car. That means when a motor vehicle hits a motorcycle, the rider can file insurance claims based on certain no-fault policies.
Normally, the victim of a motor vehicle accident must turn to his or her own policy first. However, when that person is operating or riding a motorcycle as a passenger, which insurance company is liable depends on the priority statute, MCL 500.3114(5):
- The insurer of the owner of the motor vehicle involved in the crash
- The insurer of the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the crash
- The motor vehicle insurer of the operator of the motorcycle involved in the crash
- The motor vehicle insurer of the owner of the motorcycle involved in the crash
Michigan Court Says Resident Relative Laws Apply To Motorcycle Accidents Too
Even if the people riding the motor vehicle do not have a no-fault policy of their own, a recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision says they may be able to file an insurance claim with the insurer of a household family member.
In Hmeidan v State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co, Mr. Hmeidan was injured in a motor vehicle accident while test driving a used motorcycle. He did not own any vehicles or have any no-fault insurance of his own. However, he lived part-time with his mother, who own two vehicles insured by State Farm. Michigan No-Fault law and State Farm’s no-fault policy both allowed for coverage of a person living with the policy holder who was related by blood, adoption, or marriage. After considering a question over priority between Progressive, which insured the motorcycle, and State Farm, the court said the deciding factor was whether Ms. Hmeidan counted as a resident relative. If she was, State Farm would be the higher priority insurance provider responsible for covering Mr. Hmeidan’s medical expenses.
Hmeidan opens up the possibility to file insurance claims based on a person’s spouse’s coverage, as well as those of a resident relative. It also emphasizes the importance of filing insurance claims with all possible insurance providers to be sure you are covered after a motorcycle accident. It is not easy to know which insurance policies apply. If you have been in a motorcycle crash, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you investigate your options and file all the necessary claims.
The Cronin Law Firm has experienced attorneys to aid with whatever legal issue you’re facing. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact The Cronin Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.