Tom Sinas, one of our auto accident attorneys in Grand Rapids, answered questions about Michigan no-fault law and bicycle law
Tom Sinas, one of our Grand Rapids car accident lawyers, appeared on WGVU’s “Ask the Lawyer” with Shelley Irwin on June 11, 2015 (see the video below). Tom joined local bankruptcy attorney April Hulst of Chase & Bylenga PLLC, and answered various questions relating to personal injury (specifically Michigan auto no-fault law), tips for Grand Rapids bicyclists to remember as they ride on the road, and other issues posed by callers.
Understanding Michigan auto no-fault law and your car insurance policies
On the show, Tom gave a basic overview of what truly comprises the benefits we receive under the Michigan no-fault auto insurance system. As you know, there have been a number of legislative efforts underway that would seek to dismantle the system that has provided access to high-quality care for auto accident victims recovering from severe, catastrophic crashes. What appears to be driving the push to change the system is, in large part, a lack of understanding concerning how it currently functions. As Tom mentioned on the show, Michigan auto insurance is two-fold: (1) we must have no-fault PIP benefits that cover medical expenses for those who are injured in car accidents, regardless of who is responsible for causing the accident; and (2) we must have liability insurance so that we are protected in the event we are sued for causing the accident down the road (keep in mind that in order to file suit against the at-fault driver in a car accident in Michigan, you must meet certain criteria).
The topic of suing the at-fault driver was also addressed. In many instances, this might not even happen if you are able to settle your claim with the help of a personal injury attorney, especially one with experience and expertise in handling car accident cases. Know, however, that if you do find yourself in a situation where filing a lawsuit is inevitable, remember that it is your right to do so under the law; our country’s civil justice system allows for those who are negligent or otherwise cause harm to be held responsible for their actions.
Another point Tom Sinas addressed during the segment concerned the cost of auto insurance in Michigan. As Shelley Irwin pointed out, auto premiums are on the higher end of the spectrum when compared to other states (both those with no-fault systems and those without). However, as Tom mentioned, it’s one thing to notice the price of these insurance policies – we also need to determine what is driving the prices of these policies. As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog regarding auto insurance costs, it’s a good idea to look at your declarations page to determine how much you are paying for a particular type of coverage. Is no-fault PIP coverage truly the most expensive of your coverages? For some, it might be collision coverage (as it was in Tom’s case).
Riding your bike in Grand Rapids? Know your rights and responsibilities.
Last but not least, rounding out the segment was a discussion about a few pointers Grand Rapids bicyclists (and motorists) need to remember when riding on the road. After all, there is a vibrant bicycling community in Grand Rapids. As bike riding continues to solidify its place as a reliable, viable source of transportation (and exercise), everyone who uses the road must keep a few things in mind. If the unimaginable happens and a bicycle accident involving an automobile occurs, cyclists are protected under the Michigan no-fault system; if the bicyclist involved in the collision owns a vehicle and has a no-fault policy, he or she would then turn to their auto insurance policy for payment of medical expenses arising as a result of the crash. If a bike accident happens, a bicyclist may be found at fault if it is determined that he or she failed to follow the directives provided either by the law or traffic signals and signs, which may have consequences down the line.
At the end of the day, bicyclists and motorists in Grand Rapids and across Michigan have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road.