Entitlement to No-Fault PIP Benefits Might be Trickier than You Think

Michigan no-fault PIP benefitsIf you are injured in a car accident in Michigan, in order to receive coverage under our Michigan No-Fault Insurance Act, the injury must “aris[e] out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle . . . .” Stated another way, to receive no-fault PIP benefits, the injury must be connected to owning, operating, maintaining, or using a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.  A Michigan Supreme Court opinion issued last year, MacPherson v MacPherson, helps explain this requirement.

The plaintiff in MacPherson was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 2007, sustained head trauma, and ultimately developed a seizure disorder.  The next year, the plaintiff was riding a motorcycle when he suddenly experienced a seizure, lost control, crashed into a parked car, and sustained a severe spinal cord injury.  Unfortunately, his no-fault coverage did not apply to the 2008 accident. First, motorcycles are not “motor vehicles” according to the No-Fault Act and as a result do not independently receive no-fault coverage unless a motor vehicle (e.g., a car) is involved.  You’re probably thinking, “Wait, there was a motor vehicle involved in the 2008 crash.”  Not exactly.  The motor vehicle with which the plaintiff collided was parked and, as a general rule, injuries involving parked vehicles are not covered under the No-Fault Act.

The plaintiff then tried to argue that his no-fault insurer from the 2007 crash, Progressive Insurance, should be responsible for covering the medical costs of his 2008 accident because the seizure disorder he developed in 2007 directly caused his 2008 injuries.  The Supreme Court rejected this argument, essentially stating that the causal connection between the first injury and second injury was too strained. As a result, the Court concluded that Progressive Insurance did not have to provide no-fault PIP benefits to the plaintiff in relation to his spinal cord injury.

Because investigating and pursuing claims such as the one seen in MacPherson can become complex very, very quickly, it is important to consult with a reputable team of Michigan auto no-fault attorneys who will be able to answer your questions about your no-fault PIP benefits and explain the intricacies of Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance structure.

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