If you are involved in a Michigan auto accident, you are entitled to receive personal injury protection (PIP) benefits from the responsible no-fault insurer (usually this is your own insurance company). However, you should be aware that your auto insurance policy may have a high deductible that applies when you submit a claim for PIP benefits.
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.
Aside from putting you at risk for serious injuries if involved in a car accident, failing to wear your seat belt could make your responsible for a civil infraction. It could also constitute negligence and reduce your tort recovery in a subsequent motor vehicle negligence case against the at-fault driver.
Generally, the government is immune from tort liability when engaged in a governmental function (see When Can The Government Be Sued?). However, an exception to this general rule exists when a officer, agent, or employee of a governmental agency negligently operates a motor vehicle for which the governmental agency owns.
After Monday's tragic story detailing the death of a 39-year-old Oceola Township man who was killed while riding his bike, we thought it prudent to dedicate a blog post on the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code as it pertains to bicyclists in an effort to spread awareness of the rights and duties of both motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists and in hopes of preventing future tragedies.