It is no secret that the insurance industry continues to work in Lansing to seek the passage of laws to repeal or revamp Michigan’s No-Fault laws which currently provides for payment of medical expenses, wage loss, household services and replacement services to motorcyclists injured in motor vehicle accidents.  I have explained in multiple articles in the past as to why these efforts must be opposed and every effort must be made to keep the benefits provided by No Fault intact.  In an effort to drive these points home, below I have provided a real-life analysis of a motorcyclist’s injury claim under current Michigan No Fault law and contrasting that with if No Fault were repealed.  The facts and figures are from an actual case that I represented an injured motorcyclist on in an accident where my client sustained what I would categorize as mild to moderate injuries for a motorcycle accident. 

ANALYSIS OF MOTORCYCLIST INJURY CLAIM UNDER CURRENT MICHIGAN LAW VS IF NO-FAULT LAWS ARE REPEALED[1] -PDF

Motorcyclist is injured when a motor vehicle negligently pulls out in front of him causing him to sustain loss of teeth, fractured ribs, fractured clavicle (no surgery required), collapsed lung and abrasions of his hip.  He incurred approximately $87,161.09 in medical expenses, was disabled from returning to work for 6 months to his part time self employed job (retiree) where he earned approximately $833.33 per month,  and for approximately 2 ½ months required friends/family to perform his household chores and required approximately 248 hours of attendant care  (i.e., assistance with dressing, bathing, hygiene, bandages, etc) from friends/family.[2] 

Under current law, the injured motorcyclist has 2 separate and distinct claims.

1.            MICHIGAN NO FAULT BENEFITS[3]

A.           WAGE LOSS                       No Fault insurer is required to pay 85% of gross wages up to

statutory maximum for up to 3 years                                           

RESULT                No Fault insurer pays motorcyclist $4,249.98  in lost wages (85% of his lost wages)

IF REPEAL            Motorcyclist has no claim for no fault wage loss payments.

B.           MEDICAL EXPENSES       No Fault insurer is required to pay unlimited medical expenses                                                                                        consisting of “reasonable charges incurred for reasonably                                                                               necessary products, services and accommodations for an    

injured   person’s care, recovery or rehabilitation”

 

               RESULT                No Fault insurer pays motorcyclists medical expenses ($87,161.09)

IF REPEAL            Motorcyclist has no claim for no fault medical expenses.

C.           ATTENDANT CARE           No Fault insurer is required to pay unlimited medical expenses                                                                                        consisting of “reasonable charges incurred for reasonably                                                                               necessary products, services and accommodations for an

injured   person’s care, recovery or rehabilitation”


Common rate for amount and level of attendant care claimed is $15.00/hour

RESULT                No Fault insurer pays motorcyclists family/friend attendant care providers $3,720.00  (248 hours x $15/hour)

IF REPEAL            Motorcyclist has no claim for no fault attendant care benefits.

D.           HOUSEHOLD SERVICES  No Fault insurer pays up to 3 years worth of expenses not

exceeding $20.00 per day incurred in obtaining services that injured person would have done for themselves but for the injury.  This benefit is also known as “Replacement Services.”

 
RESULT                No Fault insurer pays motorcyclists family/friend household chore providers $1,560.00 ($20/day x 78 days)

 
IF REPEAL            Motorcyclist has no claim for no fault household service benefits.

2.            PAIN AND SUFFERING

Motorcyclist may make a claim against the at-fault driver/owner for “pain and suffering” which includes compensation for pain, suffering, loss of ability to perform hobbies or activities of daily living, residual scarring, etc.  In Michigan, a driver is only required to carry a minimum of $20,000.00 in insurance coverage (residual liability coverage) for “pain and suffering” damages.  Other typical amounts include $100,000.00 and less frequently $250,000.00

RESULT                Motorcyclist may receive up to the at fault driver’s policy limits for compensation for his pain and suffering. 

IF REPEAL            Motorcyclist may receive up to the at fault driver’s policy limits for his economic loss and pain and suffering.  Consequently, if the motorcyclist’s economic loss is greater than or equal to the applicable policy limits, it will leave no recovery for pain and suffering and in some instances will not even cover the economic  loss sustained.

                              For example, in the given scenario, the motorcyclist incurred $96,691.07 in economic loss.  If the at fault party had $20,000,00 in liability insurance the motorcyclist would still be at a $76,691.07 loss for his economic damages.  If $100,000.00 in liability insurance, the motorcyclist would only realize $3,308.93 for pain and suffering and so on.  To add perspective, in a recent motorcycle accident case where the motorcyclist was severely injured with fractures of his humerus, tibial plateau, a metatarsal, orbital bone and ribs, his medical expenses totaled approximately $485,000.00 in the first 10 months alone.

The detrimental effect that a repeal of No-Fault benefits would have speaks for itself.  Please share this material with others you know to show them the real-life implications if no fault is repealed.  Also, if no fault laws were repealed, it would also apply to persons injured as drivers or passengers of a motor vehicle as well.  Thus, this article should be shared with other motorcyclists as well as cagers as if no fault goes away we all lose out.  This analysis will also be posted on the ABATE of Michigan website. 

As always, if anyone has any questions or if I can be of legal assistance to you or anyone you know dealing with this issue or who has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please don’t hesitate to contact me as I deal with these types of claims on a daily basis on behalf of injured motorcyclists statewide.

Further, if you would like to have me come out to your Region to speak or give a presentation on the legal rights of an injured motorcyclist or on any specific topic that your region may be curious about, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at (248-569-4646) or shoot me an e-mail at Dondi@buckfirelaw.com.  I give presentations to Regions state-wide and there is never a charge associated with having me out.  I enjoy having the opportunity to come out and meet motorcycle enthusiasts from all parts of our State!              

[1] Without knowing what any specific no fault repeal laws would state, this analysis is based on the assumption that any repeal of Michigan’s No Fault system would allow an injured claimant to claim economic loss as part of his/her tort claim. This document was prepared by Dondi Vesprini, attorney for ABATE of Michigan, on 9-24-18.

[2] Facts and figures represented are for the purposes of demonstrating a claim where the motorcyclist sustained mild/moderate injuries and are taken from a motorcycle accident claim for which the motorcyclist was represented by Dondi Vesprini, attorney for ABATE of Michigan.

[3] Below is a list of the most commonly claimed no-fault benefits.  Other no fault benefits can include, but are not limited to, medical mileage, home modifications, vehicle modifications and vocational retraining as they may apply.

shifting gears

Dondi Vesprini dondi@buckfirelaw.com

Phone: 248 569-4646


Fighting for the rights of all motorcyclists since 1976

ABATE of Michigan Inc.
P.O. Box 99
​Constantine, Mi. 49042

​Phone: 269 435-2058