PIP Benefits

Michigan Personal Protection Benefits (PIP)

When Are PIP Benefits Payable?

Prior to inquiring as to what type of no-fault insurance personal protection (PIP) benefits you can recover, you must ask yourself whether you are entitled to PIP benefits. First note that PIP benefits are called also no-fault insurance benefits because under M.C.L. 500.3105(2), PIP benefits “are due without regard to fault.”

Payment of no-fault insurance benefits is governed by the Michigan No-Fault Insurance Act, M.C.L. 500.3105(1), which states:

Under personal protection insurance an insurer is liable to pay benefits for accidental bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle, subject to the provisions of this chapter.

This statutory language has been reviewed by the Michigan courts, resulting in what has become a 5-part test to determine whether an accident victim is entitled to PIP or no-fault insurance benefits. However, note that there are exceptions.

Question 1. Was a motor vehicle involved in the injury?

“Motor vehicle” is defined by the Michigan No-Fault Insurance Act, Section 3101(2)(e):

Motor vehicle’ means a vehicle, including a trailer operated or designed for operation upon a public highway by power other than muscular power which has more than 2 wheels. Motor vehicle does not include a motorcycle or a moped. . . .Motor vehicle does not include a farm tractor or other implement of husbandry which is not subject to the registration requirements of the Michigan vehicle code. . . .

Quickly note that by this definition, motorcycles are automatically excluded from the definition of “motor vehicle” because they only have 2 wheels. Courts continually interpret the definition of what is considered a “motor vehicle.”¬†Contact a Michigan car accident lawyer to inquire whether your injuries involved a “motor vehicle.”

Question 2. Was there any bodily injury?

The courts have dealt with a number of issues regarding whether there was “bodily injury,”¬†and for the most part, Michigan courts have stated that in general, no-fault insurance benefits are not payable for injuries resulting from long term exposure to motor vehicle use. Rather, the courts hold that there usually must be a single injury producing event.

Section 3105(3) states that, “Bodily injury includes death resulting therefrom and damage to or loss of a person’s prosthetic devices in connection with the injury.”

However, consult with an expert Michigan car accident lawyer to inquire whether you suffered “bodily injury” sufficient to be entitled to PIP benefits.

Question 3. Was the injury accidental?

The bodily injury you sustain must be accidental and not the result of an intent to injure yourself. The Michigan No-Fault Insurance Act, Section 3105(4) defines accidental bodily as:

Bodily injury is accidental as to a person claiming personal protection insurance benefits unless suffered intentionally by the injured person or caused intentionally by the claimant. Even though a person knows that bodily injury is substantially certain to be caused by his act or omission, he does not cause or suffer injury intentionally if he acts or refrains from acting for the purpose of averting injury to property or to any person including himself.

The Michigan No-Fault Insurance Act is continually being interpreted by Michigan courts. There are a number of issues related to whether an injury ins accidental in circumstances related to exiting a motor vehicle, an intentional conduct of another person, formulating requisite intent, and reckless acts. To better understand whether you suffered “accidental” bodily injury, we suggest you contact an expert Michigan car accident lawyer.

Question 4. Was there a causal connection between the injury and the motor vehicle?

This is possibly the most complicated and most heavily litigated issue in the 5-part test. There must be a sufficient causal connection between the injury and the “ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle.” This must be more than merely incidental. In other words, the requiste question is whether the injury would not have occured but for the ownership, maintenance or use of the motor vehicle.

An expert Michigan car accident should definitely be consulted to determine whether there was a sufficient causal connection between your car accident injuries and the ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle. It’s an issue that has evolved greatly through the Michigan courts.

Question 5. Was a motor vehicle being used as a motor vehicle?

The final test to determine whether you are entitled to collect no-fault or PIP benefits is whether the injury arose out of the involvement of a motor vehicle as a “motor vehicle.” The Michigan Supreme Court in McKenzie v. ACIA, ruled that this issue “turns on whether the injury is closely related to the transportational function of motor vehicles.” Please contact an expert Michigan car accident lawyer to determine whether your injuries were closely related to the transportational function of a motor vehicle. This is another issue that is often litigated and interpreted by the courts.

Michigan Citizens Injured Out-of-State

Michigan no-fault insurance law extends coverage of personal protection insurance benefits to those people who are insured by a Michigan no-fault insurance policy who travel outside of Michigan for accidental bodily injuries that occur within the United States, its territories and possessions or in Canada. This law is governed by M.C.L. 500.3111.

If you or someone you know was recently injuried in a car accident and you would like to know your rights and what you are entitled to collect, please set up a free case review with one of the leading expert car accident law firms in Michigan.