In Michigan, motorcycle hit-and-run accidents can really leave injured motorcyclists in the lurch. Unlike cars and trucks, motorcyclists are not covered by the state's no-fault insurance system. Instead, they must rely on their own insurance policy to cover injuries from a hit-and-run accident, unless there was another car or truck involved besides the hit-and-run driver. Unfortunately, most motorcyclists don't carry the insurance necessary to cover hit-and-run injuries because it isn't required by state law.
As with any traffic accident, hit-and-run accidents can be devastating to motorcyclists. Injuries are likely to be more severe and more costly for motorcyclists than for drivers and passengers in cars and trucks. Motorcyclists also tend to have longer hospital stays - due to typically more severe injuries - often leaving them unable to work and earn a living while ordinary household bills continue to pile up along with the medical bills.
Under Michigan's no-fault insurance laws, the no-fault insurance provision that provides medical coverage and loss-of-income coverage regardless of who's at fault for the accident only applies to motor vehicles. The law also does not include motorcycles under the classification of motor vehicles. Therefore, motorcyclists are not covered by no-fault insurance. Instead, motorcyclists must be sure to carry the right kind of coverage or they will get stuck with the medical bills and other damages should they be injured by a driver who leaves the scene of the accident and police are unable to identify the driver later.
Michigan law only requires motorcyclists to carry liability insurance. But liability insurance only covers injuries to others or damage to property if the motorcyclist is at fault for an accident. It does not cover the motorcyclist's own injuries. To insure that a motorcyclist has coverage for his own injuries should he be the cause of an accident, he needs to have a type of insurance policy known as Personal Injury Protection or PIP. PIP covers the medical costs and expenses directly related to the injuries. However, unlike no-fault insurance, all PIP policies have limits - a maximum amount they will pay for costs associated with any one accident. PIP policies also do not cover loss of income nor compensate motorcyclists for the pain and suffering they experience or other non-economic losses. If a motorcyclist only has liability and PIP insurance, it may not be enough if injuries from a hit-and-run accident are very severe.
In addition to liability and PIP, we strongly recommend that motorcyclists also have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. UM/UIM policies provide coverage for any accident that involves someone without insurance or without enough insurance to cover the medical costs of the motorcyclist's injuries. It also covers non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
In the insurance world, a hit-and-run driver is considered a driver with no insurance. Therefore hit-and-run accidents in which a motorcyclist is injured would be covered by the motorcyclist's UM/UIM policy if he has one. If the motorcyclist doesn't have a UM/UIM policy, then he is usually without means of recovering compensation for the damages suffered beyond those covered by the PIP policy.
If a motorcyclist's insurance company pays out benefits for a hit-and-run accident under a PIP and/or UM/UIM policy and the at-fault driver is later identified, the motorcyclist's insurer will pursue compensation from that driver and his or her insurance company. Likewise, a motorcyclist without coverage for the damages incurred in a hit-and-run accident can later sue the driver at fault if the driver is identified.
When the motorist at fault for a motorcycle accident can’t be identified, there may still be a way to recover damages, but insurance companies and other liable parties will do their best to deny responsibility. In Michigan, the personal injury attorneys at Sachs Waldman, P.C., have the experience and skill to find sources for recovering damages in difficult cases like hit-and-run motorcycle accidents. We can help you fight for the injury compensation you need. Call our Detroit personal injury attorneys’ office at 1-800-638-6722 to schedule a free consultation.