Known as the “Motor City”, Detroit has a rich motor history. From world-class manufacturers to famous clubs, it’s a top destination for the country’s bikers. However, like any other big metro, the city can be a dangerous place for riders. Every year, hundreds of bikers are killed or injured by reckless, distracted, and drunken drivers in Michigan. Victims often suffer catastrophic injuries and incur thousands of dollars in medical bills. If you were injured on the road, turn to our Detroit motorcycle accident attorneys for advice.
At Seva Law firm, we can provide strategic counsel and step-by-step guidance at each stage of proceedings. Reach out to us at (248) 385-5704 to arrange a free case review.
What Are Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance Laws for Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous vehicles than cars and trucks. There are no doors, roofs, or outer layers to protect occupants from external objects and crash forces. Accordingly, motorcycle accidents can result in incredibly serious injuries.
When drafting the Michigan No-Fault Act back in the 1970s, the Michigan legislature recognized the additional risk associated with motorcycles and decided to exempt motorcycles from traditional No-Fault coverage. Accordingly, you cannot purchase No-Fault coverage for your motorcycle. However, you can still get our state’s No-Fault coverage if you are involved in a motorcycle accident with a car or truck.
Yes, it is confusing, but here is a simplified explanation:
- If your motorcycle loses control and hits a tree, curb, person, bicycle, building, or anything else that is NOT a car/truck: You DO NOT qualify for Michigan No-Fault coverage for your injuries. This means your health insurance would be your primary coverage for your medical bills. You would not qualify for wage loss or household services through auto insurance. You would not likely be able to get attendant/nursing care for your injuries.
- Your motorcycle strikes, or is struck by, a car or truck: You qualify for Michigan No-Fault coverage. This means you will be able to get your medical bills covered by auto insurance, as well as wage loss, household services, and attendant care.
What Is the New Order of Priority for No-Fault Coverage?
Prior to the 2019 No-Fault Amendments, motorcyclists who were involved in an accident with a car/truck would qualify for No-Fault coverage through the insurance company for any cars they may own. However, after the 2019 No-Fault Amendments, motorcyclists must now seek No-Fault benefits from the insurer of the car/truck involved in the accident first.
The new priority insurance carrier priority scheme for motorcycle accidents is set forth in MCL 500.3114 as follows:
- The insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident;
- The insurer of the operator of the motor vehicle, if that operator is someone other than the owner or registrant;
- The no-fault insurer of the injured motorcyclist, if that individual is insured under a no-fault policy on another vehicle; and
- The no-fault insurer of the owner or registrant of the motorcycle, if such a policy exists.
The new priority scheme is very unfair to responsible motorcyclists because it now leaves motorcyclists at the mercy of the coverage purchased by the car that was involved in the accident. Prior to 2019, a motorcyclist could purchase the absolute best coverage for their car and take solace in knowing that they would be optimally covered if involved in an accident. However, under the new rules, motorcyclists can purchase the most expensive coverage available (including unlimited PIP coverage), but if they are hit by a car that has only $50,000 in coverage, then that is all they can get.
Can I File a Bodily Injury Claim?
In addition to a No-Fault claim, if the car that struck you was at fault, you will be eligible for a bodily injury claim for the pain and suffering you experienced. This amount is for non-economic damages and is meant to compensate you for the effect the accident has had on your quality of life. The amount you can get from a bodily injury claim will depend on the other driver’s policy limits and the nature/extent of your injuries.
Can I Use Social Media after a Motorcycle Accident?
Facebook groups, Twitter threads, and Instagram accounts have become new gathering spots for riding enthusiasts in the state. Whether you are looking for help repairing your ride, want to show off your new bike, or share your most recent experiences on the open road, there are thousands of users eager to open a conversation.
Naturally, the digital space may be one of your first pit stops after a serious accident. You might want to vent about the at-fault motorist, share images of the wreckage, or warn others of the dangers of the road.
However, discussing the accident online could compromise your third-party accident claim. The at-fault motorist’s insurer will likely be looking for any reason to dispute your claim and reduce how much they pay out. As such, they might monitor your online activity for any comments, pictures, “check ins”, or even reviews that could be used to challenge your case.
Let us take look at some of the ways you can protect your claim next time you go online:
- Configure Your Privacy Settings: Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter give users the option to hide posts and other activity from anyone who is not an approved friend or follower. Dialing up these privacy settings will prevent the insurer from accessing your feeds, reducing the chances they may uncover posts that could be used to challenge your case.
- Ignore New Connection Requests: After you’ve upgraded your privacy settings, opposing parties may attempt to gain access to your online feeds by sending a friend or follow request. As such, it’s important to screen all new connection requests to ensure you aren’t accepting an invite from someone you don’t recognize. As a general rule of thumb, you should not approve any new friends or followers until your case has concluded.
- Abstain from Posting Pictures: With the right “spin” even a seemingly innocent picture of you and your family at the park could be used to dispute your claim. For instance, the insurer may argue that your injuries can’t be as debilitating as you are claiming as you are clearly still able to enjoy your life. It doesn’t matter if you were gritting your teeth against the pain when the picture was taken. As such, you should not upload any pictures of yourself until your claim is resolved. You should also ask friends and family to not tag you in their own pictures.
- Do Not “Check In”: Facebook lets you “check in” to broadcast your whereabouts to your online circles. While it’s a great way to stay connected, these updates will make it easy for the insurer and other opposing parties to keep tabs on your daily activities. For instance, if you claim that your injuries have made it impossible to lead a normal life, but your “check ins” show you jumping from one party venue to the next, the insurer could use this information to challenge your case.
Find a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Detroit
If you intend to file a motorcycle accident claim in Michigan, turn to the attorneys at Seva Law Firm. We have helped our clients recover more than $100 million in verdicts and settlements. Dial (248) 385-5704 or make use of our online contact page HERE to secure a free case review with a motorcycle accident attorney in Detroit.