In a motorcycle accident situation where the involved motor vehicle was uninsured, the laws calls for the motorcyclist to make their claim for No Fault benefits with his/her own auto insurer. In these situations, I have had clients who are apprehensive about making such a claim with their auto insurer because they don’t want their auto insurance premiums to go up.
In these situations, the apprehension is not all together misplaced as there have been instances where the applicable insurance company raises premiums in these situations, even if the insured was not at fault for the accident.
House Bill 5699, introduced by Rep. Patrick Green would help in this very type of a situation. The bill, currently pending in Lansing, would prohibit an insurer from establishing or maintaining rates or rating classifications for collision or comprehensive coverage under auto insurance based on an insured being in an accident to which a responding law enforcement officer or court has determined that the insured was not substantially at fault.
While the bill does not appear to apply to motorcycle insurance, it would seemingly apply to the oft-common situation where the motorcyclist must fall back on his/her own auto insurance to provide his/her Michigan no fault benefits. This means that if the motorcyclist was not at fault for the accident, his/her auto insurer will not be able to raise the auto insurance premium simply by virtue of the fact that the motorcyclist was involved in an accident.
In my experience, many auto insurance adjusters at the claims level will blindly defer to the applicable police report in determining who was at fault in an accident. Right or wrong (and I have seen enough cases to know that the police report is not always correct in assessing fault), whichever party the officer assigns fault to will more times than not be the party that the insurance company will assign fault to. In those situations where the insured is not found by the officer to be at fault, this bill would prevent the insurer from establishing or maintaining rates just because the insured was involved in an accident. This would appear to be a just result and eliminates the theory of raising rates simply because someone appears “prone” to be in accidents.
What is more interesting are those situations where the police officer assigns fault to the insured, but there is an argument to be made that in reality it was not the insured’s fault. For instance, those situations where the officer may not have talked to both parties or any witnesses regarding how the accident happened before reaching their conclusion on who was at fault. For those circumstances, it would appear the bill leaves open the opportunity for the insured to fight the issue in court and if successful, the bill would disallow the insurance company from adjusting rates upward based on that accident.
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!
ABATE of Michigan Inc.
P.O. Box 99
Constantine, Mi. 49042
Phone: 269 435-2058
ABATE of Michigan
Fighting for the rights of all motorcyclists since 1976
Dondi Vesprini firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 248 569-4646