Metro Detroit Auto Accident Attorney
Under the Michigan No-Fault Act, personal injury protection (PIP) benefits are available to anyone who sustains an injury “arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle.” MCL 500.3105. In most situations, the injured person receives no-fault benefits from his or her own insurance company. However, even if you do not have a car, you can still be injured in an auto accident. A passenger or pedestrian is still entitled to no-fault benefits regardless of whether he or she was the owner, driver or even an occupant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident.
But how do you know which insurance company to look to for no-fault benefits? The driver? The owner? Michigan law provides a detailed “order of priority” to help determine who the responsible no-fault provider is after an auto accident:
- Your Own Insurance Policy: Your own insurance policy pays your first-party benefits after a car accident. This is true even if you were a passenger or pedestrian, and even if you were at fault for the accident.
- Resident Relative’s Insurance Policy: If you do not have an insurance policy, you may be able to recover first-party benefits under the policy of a relative in the same household, such as a spouse, parent, or sibling.
- Insurance Policy of the Owner of the Vehicle Occupied: If there is no insurance policy that covers you in your household, then you are covered under the policy of the owner of the vehicle you occupied.
- Insurance Policy of the Driver of the Vehicle Occupied: If the vehicle you occupied did not have insurance, but the driver of that vehicle did, you can seek first-party benefits from the driver’s insurance provider.
- State of Michigan Assigned Claims Plan: If none of the above applies, then you can seek first-party benefits from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP). The MACP is a State Agency that will assign an insurance company to provide benefits to you when no no-fault insurer is available and the injured party is not excluded from no-fault coverage.
But what if you were a pedestrian injured in a car accident and neither you, your spouse or any relative in your household has a Michigan no-fault policy? In this instance, MCL 500.3115 provides that you would look to the insurance provider of the owner or registrant of the vehicle that hit you, and then to the insurance provider of the driver of the vehicle that hit you. If coverage is still not available, you would seek benefits from the MACP.
Sometimes you may be covered under more than one insurance policy. In that case, each policy should be carefully reviewed and analyzed. Additionally, notice of the accident or an “application for benefits” should be sent to each insurance provider. This may also include an application of benefits to the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
Determining who is responsible for providing no-fault benefits after a car accident can be confusing. You should contact an experienced metro Detroit car accident attorney after an accident to make sure you receive all the benefits you are are entitled to.