New Rules for Motorcyclists
As many are now aware, the new no-fault act became law on June 11, 2019, with some provisions taking immediate effect. One change is that motorcycles now have new rules. Motorcyclists have always had a different “order of priority” in terms of who pays PIP benefits. Because motorcycles are not considered “motor vehicles” under the Michigan no-fault law, motorcycle drivers and passengers are generally not entitled to no-fault benefits in any given accident that does not involve a car or truck (such as losing control due to poor weather). However, so long as a motor vehicle was involved in the accident, then a motorcycle driver or passenger can collect no-fault benefits. But the order of priority for motorcycles is different than regular vehicles:
- First Priority – the no-fault insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident.
- Second Priority – the no-fault insurer of the operator of the motor vehicle involved in the accident.
- Third Priority – the no-fault insurer of the operator of the motorcycle involve in the accident.
- Fourth Priority – the no-fault insurer of the owner or registrant of the motorcycle involved in the accident.
- Firth Priority – the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan
Thus, in this sense at least, the rule shave not changed. However, the amount of benefits, effective June 11, 2019, has already changed in certain cases. Specifically, for those seeking benefits through assigned claims, they are now only able to receive $250,000.00 worth of no-fault benefits instead of unlimited benefits. If a motorcyclist is hospitalized and requires surgery, this coverage could be used up in as little as a week. Moreover, effective July 2020, No-Fault benefits for a motorcyclist whether an operator or a rider who is injured in a crash with a car or truck will be limited to the No-Fault medical benefits coverage levels chosen by the motorists involved in the crash. Starting July 2020, this could be as little as $50,000 worth of coverage, or in certain cases, completely waived. Therefore, it is also important to note that motorcyclists are still able to purchase additional medical benefits of their own, and they should certainly do so or potentially face very minimal coverage for an unknown offending car or truck.
On the plus side, there is a chance that they can recover excess economic benefits (meaning excess medical bills and other benefits) from the at fault driver’s insurance under MCL 500.3135(3)(c) if such insurance is available, something which they were generally not able to do before.