Who Can Get No-Fault PIP Benefits?
Basically, a Michigan resident injured by a moving motor vehicle in Michigan will be able to get no-fault benefits so long as they did not intentionally suffer their injuries and they are not otherwise disqualified from receiving no-fault benefits.
The statutory section regarding entitlement to no-fault benefits is §3105(1) of the Act. This section states, “Under personal protection insurance, an insurer is liable to pay benefits for accidental bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle, subject to the provisions of this chapter.”
Section 3105(2) states that PIP benefits “are due under this chapter without regard to fault.” It is this subsection that gives no-fault its name.
Notably, the entitlement language of §3105(1) is very broad and goes beyond the typical scenario of bodily injury sustained in car crashes. On the contrary, §3105(1) extends entitlement to PIP benefits to a number of no-collision situations, such as injuries arising out of motor vehicle maintenance, loading and unloading property, and occupying a vehicle.
In order for no-fault PIP benefits to be payable, these basic elements must be met, including the following:
- There must be a “motor vehicle” involved in the accident as that term is defined in the Act; there must be some form of bodily or mental injury, which can include an aggravation of a pre-existing condition;
- The injury giving rise to the claim must be accidental in the sense that it was not caused intentionally by the claimant; there must be a sufficient causal connection between the injury and the use of the motor vehicle, which is something more than an incidental connection;
- And the injury must be closely related to the transportational function of the motor vehicle.
Can I receive no-fault benefits If I was injured in a parked vehicle?
The availability of no-fault benefits is narrowed in cases where the only vehicle involved is a parked vehicle. This situation is addressed in §3106 of the Act, which provides that a person sustaining accidental bodily injury arising out of a parked vehicle is not entitled to PIP benefits unless the injury falls into one of the following three scenarios:
- The person is injured in a vehicle that is parked in such a way as to cause an unreasonable risk of the injury occurred.
- The person is injured as a direct result of physical contact with either permanently mounted vehicle equipment while the equipment was being operated or used, or direct physical contact with property that was being lifted onto or lowered from the vehicle in the loading or unloading process.
- The person was injured while occupying, entering into, or alighting from the parked vehicle.
The Michigan Supreme Court has also recognized a fourth scenario where benefits are payable if the injured person sustained an injury while performing maintenance on a parked vehicle. Accordingly, a person can be entitled to no-fault benefits if injured while performing a wide variety of tasks related to the maintenance of a motor vehicle.
It is also important to keep in mind that if a person is injured in an accident involving both a moving motor vehicle and a parked vehicle, the involvement of the moving motor vehicle makes it unnecessary for the injured person to fall into one of the four parked vehicle scenarios described above. In these situations, the person will likely be entitled to no-fault benefits because of the moving motor vehicle involved in the crash.
There are some other restrictions on the payment of no-fault benefits involving parked vehicles in the event where the person is injured in such a way that gives rises to the payment of workers’ compensation benefits. The specific facts of these situations have to examined to determine if the injured person would be legally entitled to no-fault benefits.