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How Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits are Applied in Motorcycle Accidents in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, a misconception exists on how Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits are applied in motorcycle accident.

In Massachusetts, every auto-insurance policy must provide PIP benefits. PIP Benefits provide reimbursement for medical expenses and related expenses incurred like lost wages, up to a certain amount as a result of a motor-vehicle accident. PIP benefits are referred to as “no-fault" benefits, provided regardless of who is at fault, or more properly, legally responsible for the occurrence of the accident. In the context of auto-insurance, PIP benefits are available to the insured driver, any passenger in the insured’s vehicle, or any pedestrian struck by the insured’s vehicle though the driver’s insurance policy. PIP coverage may also be available through any insurance policy covering any other motor vehicle owned by such person injured or any member of his household. (Please note, PIP coverage is different than Bodily Injury coverage, which is provided by the motor vehicle insurance policy of other vehicle involved in the accident, and which is also the at-fault party).

The amount of PIP benefits available is determined by referring to the driver’s auto insurance policy limits, as well as if the injured party has health insurance. If the victim does not have health insurance or the health insurance company denies coverage, the insured’s PIP coverage will pay up to $8,000 in medical expenses and related expenses. In a case where the victim has health insurance, PIP benefits will pay for the first $2,000 in expenses.

HOWEVER, in Massachusetts, insurance companies are not required to provide PIP coverage in motor vehicle insurance policies covering motorcycles. Therefore, your motorcycle insurance policy will most likely NOT provide PIP coverage to you, the owner, rider or passenger of a motorcycle who suffers injuries as a result of a motorcycle accident. PIP benefits will only provide coverage to a pedestrian struck by a motorcycle.

Furthermore, no person who suffers injury while an operator or a passenger on a motorcycle shall be entitled to recover his damages for such injury through the so-called assigned claims plan or under the PIP coverage of any insurance policy covering any other motor vehicle owned by such person or any member of his household.

To determine your coverage, your motorcycle insurance policy summary will most likely state in clear language and bold print that the coverage provided does not include PIP for owners, operators or guests of motorcycles who suffer bodily injury while operating or riding as a guest upon such vehicles.

Therefore, it is imperative that motorcycle riders make sure they have sufficient health insurance to cover any cost of medical treatment and related expenses that they may incur for injuries sustain as a result of a motorcycle accident, especially where they are the at-fault party.

Moreover, a motorcycle operator should take caution when riding with a passenger, or offering to give someone a ride, as the operator may be personally liable for any injuries their passenger sustains as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this post is intended for informational purposes only. It does not intend to solicit business or provide legal advice. This post does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any legal action without first seeking advise from an independent legal counsel in your jurisdiction.

Additional resources provided by the author

• Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 34A - 34M
• Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 211 CMR 3.00 titled “Motorcycle Insurance”

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