Since 1983, our office has handled hundreds of motorcycle cases. In motorcycle accidents involving cars or trucks, the motorcyclist is almost always the innocent victim. This is usually because the person driving a car or truck fails to see the motorcycle and turns left, pulls out, or turns directly in front of the motorcycle, thus causing the accident. Often this results in very serious injuries to the motorcyclist.
Under the Michigan No-Fault Law, injured motorcyclists are treated differently than the drivers of cars or trucks. This is because, by the wording of the statute, a motorcycle is not considered to be a " motor vehicle " for purposes of the No-Fault Law. In practical terms, what this means is, if a motorcycle is involved in an accident with a car or truck, the injured "biker" usually receives no-fault personal injury protection benefits, such as medical expenses and wage loss, from the insurance company covering the car or truck that was involved in the accident, (this is true even if it was the motorcyclist's fault!). These benefits are very extensive. However, a biker driving his or her own motorcycle, which is uninsured at the time of the accident, is precluded from getting any personal injury benefits. (Remember, this only applies to the person who was actually the "owner" of the motorcycle when that motorcycle is driven by that person and uninsured at the time of the accident.)
A motorcycle, which is involved in an accident with another motorcycle, or one that is just involved in a single motorcycle crash, is not considered to be involved in an accident with, a "motor vehicle" because, again, motorcycles are not considered to be "motor vehicles" under the Michigan No-Fault Statute. In that instance there would be no personal injury protection benefits available under the No-Fault Statute to the injured motorcyclist. However, under certain circumstances, such as the accident being the fault of another motorcycle, road defect, or some other cause, the motorcyclist still might be able to proceed on a claim for injuries.
A motorcyclist's claim for injuries against an insured motor vehicle (car or truck) operator, or owner is subject to the Michigan No-Fault tort threshold. This means that the motorcyclist must suffer " serious impairment of body function " or " serious and permanent bodily disfigurement " in order to be eligible to collect money for pain and suffering. In other words, the motorcyclist must sustain some type of serious injury or a scar, or both.
A motorcyclist, who is seriously injured while driving his or her own uninsured motorcycle, while unable to obtain no-fault personal injury protection benefits, would, nevertheless, be able to sue the " at fault " person, assuming the injuries are serious enough to cross the " threshold ", as noted above.
As you can see, motorcycle accidents can involve complexities that require sorting out by an experienced lawyer in the field of motorcycle accidents. Our office is the right place to call. Call 1-800-872-7119 and ask for Gary. One of them will tell you what to do and what not to do. They will clear it up for you and tell you where you stand.