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Brinkley v Auto Owners Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 7/31/2001, RB #2231)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #223252; Unpublished   
Judges Wilder, Hood and Griffin; unanimous; per curiam   
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion

Definition of Motor Vehicle (General) [3101(2)(e)]  
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [3105(1)]    
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Motor Vehicle Involvement [3135(1)]

Not applicable

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals held that plaintiff was not entitled to PIP protection benefits because her injuries did not arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle, as required under 3105(1), where plaintiff was injured in a single-vehicle accident when he lost control of his motorcycle after striking a piece of tire tread lying in the roadway.

Although a motorcycle is not a motor vehicle within the meaning of section 3101(2)(e), a motorcyclist can claim no-fault benefits when he is injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle. However, the injury must be closely related to the vehicle’s function as a means of transportation. Further, the injury must be causally connected with the motor vehicle in a way that is more than incidental, fortuitous or but for. Such a causal connection is lacking where a motorcycle loses control after striking an object in the roadway that has come detached from a motor vehicle.

The court noted that, “While such a connection may be sufficient to establish the physical contact requirement necessary to receive uninsured motorist benefits, or to sue the Secretary of State under MCL 257.1112 for injuries caused by an unknown motor vehicle and driver, ... it does not create a sufficient causal connection between that motor vehicle and another motorist’s injury, such that the injury could be said to arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of that motor vehicle.”

Lansing car accident lawyer Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit

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