Michigan Bicycle Accidents & No-Fault PIP Benefits

Entitlement to Benefits

The Michigan no-fault law provides bicyclists injured in accidents involving motor vehicles with personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, to compensate them for the injuries they sustained in their Michigan bicycle accident. These benefits are generally available regardless of who was at fault for the bicycle accident. PIP benefits provide coverage for medical expenses, lost wages for up to three years, and for up to three years of reimbursement for household services.  See MCL 500.3107.

Determining Which Insurer Will Pay Benefits For a Bicycle Accident

In claims brought under the no-fault law, the injured motorist’s PIP benefits are paid by his or her own insurance company, while the non-economic damages are sought from the insurer and at-fault driver of the vehicle. However, the no-fault law provides a different priority for injured bikers who are seeking PIP benefits.

Michigan law indicates that injured bicyclists should first seek coverage from their own auto no-fault policy, if they have one, even though the vehicle insured under that policy wasn’t involved in causing the injuries. If the bicyclist is uninsured, he or she may seek coverage from a no-fault policy in which a spouse is the named insured. If coverage through a spouse is unavailable, the bicyclist may look to a policy covering a relative who lives in the same household as the bicyclist.  MCL 500.3114.

When the injured bicyclist is unable to find coverage through a personal or family no-fault policy, he or she may look to other sources. MCL 500.3115. The Michigan no-fault law sets forth a specific order of priority for finding applicable insurance, and says that the bicyclist should first seek coverage from the insurer that covers the owner or registrant of the vehicle that caused his or her injuries, and if no coverage is available there, he or she may look to the insurer of the operator of the vehicle that caused his or her injuries, if the operator is someone other than the owner or registrant of the vehicle.

If the bicyclist obtains coverage from the striking vehicle’s insurer, however, the cyclist should be extremely careful in dealing with that insurer. Why? Because the same insurer that is providing the bicyclist’s no-fault coverage will also be named as a defendant in an auto negligence claim that he or she may also have for non-economic damages.

Finally, if the injured bicyclist is unable to find no-fault coverage with any insurer, the cyclist may have the claim referred to the Michigan Assigned Claims Facility. This entity will assign the claim to a Michigan no-fault insurer, and that insurer will then provide the necessary coverage.