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Old July 28th, 2014, 03:19 PM   #1
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Default Offroad Jeep not d a "motor vehicle" and driver denied insurance benefits when injure

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FOR YOU OFF-ROADERS, you might want to take note.

NUTSHELL:
Jeep modified for off-road use is not a motor vehicle under the Michigan No-Fault Act and considered an ORV. So when the driver crashed off roading, he was not entitled to automobile insurance benefits.


In the recent unpublished opinion of Gividen v Bristol West Insurance Company and Auto Club Insurance Association v Bristol West Insurance Company, (Docket Nos. 312082, 312129, issued July 17, 2014), the Michigan Court of Appeals vacated the trial court’s judgment that a plaintiff involved in a collision while riding an off-road vehicle (ORV) and a modified Jeep was not entitled to no-fault PIP benefits where the modified Jeep was not considered a “motor vehicle” for purposes of the No-Fault Act, MCL 500.3101 et seq.

Plaintiff Steven Gividen was riding an ORV when it collided with a 1976 modified Jeep driven by Brandon Northrup, who was not a party to the lawsuit. Plaintiff was seriously and permanently injured as a result of the collision. At the time of the accident, plaintiff was not covered by a no-fault insurance policy and did not reside with a relative with a no-fault insurance policy. Northrup’s Jeep was insured by a policy of insurance issued by Bristol West Insurance Group and Home State County Mutual Insurance Company that was purchased in Texas. Plaintiff filed a claim for no-fault PIP benefits with the Assigned Claims Facility, which assigned Defendant ACIA to handle the claim. ACIA paid PIP benefits to plaintiff, and the lawsuits followed.

In Docket No. 312082, plaintiff argued that the Jeep was a “motor vehicle”, and both the trial court and the Court of Appeals disagreed. The Jeep underwent extensive modifications prior to the collision. The original metal shell of the Jeep had been removed and replaced with a fiber glass shell. The Jeep did not have doors or a rearview mirror. The wiring in the Jeep was not connected except as to the steering column, ignition, and brakes. The tires were replaced with tires that were impractical for driving on a paved road. The Court of Appeals found that the Jeep was an ORV where it had been modified to the extent that it was no longer designed for operation on a public highway, and therefore, pursuant to MCL 500.3101(2)(e), “the Jeep did not qualify as a motor vehicle under the no-fault act at the time of the accident.” As a result, plaintiff was not entitled to PIP benefits pursuant to MCL 500.3105(1).

In Docket No. 31219, Defendant Bristol West argued, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that the trial court erred when concluding that even though the Jeep was not a “motor vehicle” under Michigan’s no-fault act, plaintiff was entitled to PIP benefits from Bristol West under the language of the insurance policy at issue. The policy at issue did not define the term “motor vehicle” but rather only defined the term “your covered auto.” The Court of Appeals concluded that the policy’s definition of “your covered auto” had no relation to the term “motor vehicle” as defined in the no-fault act. The Court of Appeals held that, “[b]ecause the trial court properly determined that the Jeep was not a ‘motor vehicle’ under the no-fault act, plaintiff was not entitled to Michigan no-fault PIP benefits based on the policy definition of ‘your covered auto’.”

The Court of Appeals further disagreed with the trial court’s determination that plaintiff was entitled to no-fault PIP benefits under the “out-of-state coverage clause in the policy.” The out-of-state coverage provision provided coverage for the minimum amount of no-fault insurance required in Michigan if the insured was legally responsible for such coverage. The Court of Appeals found that, because the Jeep was not a “motor vehicle” for the purposes of the Michigan no-fault act, the collision between plaintiff and Northrup was not “an auto accident to which this policy applies,” and plaintiff was not entitled to PIP benefits under the out-of-state coverage language in the policy. Therefore, plaintiff was not entitled to Michigan no-fault PIP benefits under the out-of-state coverage provision of the policy.
Just a FYI...
Took this from another site from the attorney that is on there...
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Old July 28th, 2014, 03:32 PM   #2
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it sounds more like if you have a buggy and are trying to register it for street, that it won't be considered a motor vehicle but an ORV.

I'm guessing if it was just lifted, had DOT tires, not hacked up and was still 50% the original vehicle it would be fine. Again I'm just guessing based on what the article said about fiberglass tubs and not street able tires.
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Old July 28th, 2014, 03:38 PM   #3
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Interesting - thanks for posting.
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Old July 28th, 2014, 04:09 PM   #4
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I don't think you are getting the whole story..the jeep by defination is a motor vehicle and the mcl you or rather the article is referencing includes a provision for ORVs .

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Section 500.3101
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THE INSURANCE CODE OF 1956 (EXCERPT)
Act 218 of 1956


500.3101 Security for payment of benefits required; period security required to be in effect; deletion of coverages; definitions; policy of insurance or other method of providing security; filing proof of security; “insurer” defined.
Sec. 3101.

(1) The owner or registrant of a motor vehicle required to be registered in this state shall maintain security for payment of benefits under personal protection insurance, property protection insurance, and residual liability insurance. Security shall only be required to be in effect during the period the motor vehicle is driven or moved upon a highway. Notwithstanding any other provision in this act, an insurer that has issued an automobile insurance policy on a motor vehicle that is not driven or moved upon a highway may allow the insured owner or registrant of the motor vehicle to delete a portion of the coverages under the policy and maintain the comprehensive coverage portion of the policy in effect.

(2) As used in this chapter:

(a) "Automobile insurance" means that term as defined in section 2102.

(b) "Highway" means that term as defined in section 20 of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.20.

(c) "Motorcycle" means a vehicle having a saddle or seat for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground, which is equipped with a motor that exceeds 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement. The wheels on any attachment to the vehicle shall not be considered as wheels in contact with the ground. Motorcycle does not include a moped, as defined in section 32b of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.32b. Motorcycle does not include an ORV.

(d) "Motorcycle accident" means a loss involving the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motorcycle as a motorcycle, but not involving the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.

(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, as defined in section 32b of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.32b. 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 pursuant to section 216 of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.216. Motor vehicle does not include an ORV.

(f) "Motor vehicle accident" means a loss involving the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle regardless of whether the accident also involves the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motorcycle as a motorcycle.

(g) "ORV" means a motor-driven recreation vehicle designed for off-road use and capable of cross-country travel without benefit of road or trail, on or immediately over land, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain. ORV includes, but is not limited to, a multitrack or multiwheel drive vehicle, a motorcycle or related 2-wheel, 3-wheel, or 4-wheel vehicle, an amphibious machine, a ground effect air cushion vehicle, an ATV as defined in section 81101 of the natural resources and environmental protection act, 1994 PA 451, MCL 324.81101, or other means of transportation deriving motive power from a source other than muscle or wind. ORV does not include a vehicle described in this subdivision that is registered for use upon a public highway and has the security described in section 3101 or 3103 in effect.

(h) "Owner" means any of the following:

(i) A person renting a motor vehicle or having the use thereof, under a lease or otherwise, for a period that is greater than 30 days.

(ii) A person who holds the legal title to a vehicle, other than a person engaged in the business of leasing motor vehicles who is the lessor of a motor vehicle pursuant to a lease providing for the use of the motor vehicle by the lessee for a period that is greater than 30 days.

(iii) A person who has the immediate right of possession of a motor vehicle under an installment sale contract.

(i) "Registrant" does not include a person engaged in the business of leasing motor vehicles who is the lessor of a motor vehicle pursuant to a lease providing for the use of the motor vehicle by the lessee for a period that is greater than 30 days.

(3) Security may be provided under a policy issued by an insurer duly authorized to transact business in this state which affords insurance for the payment of benefits described in subsection (1). A policy of insurance represented or sold as providing security is considered to provide insurance for the payment of the benefits.

(4) Security required by subsection (1) may be provided by any other method approved by the secretary of state as affording security equivalent to that afforded by a policy of insurance, if proof of the security is filed and continuously maintained with the secretary of state throughout the period the motor vehicle is driven or moved upon a highway. The person filing the security has all the obligations and rights of an insurer under this chapter. When the context permits, "insurer" as used in this chapter, includes any person filing the security as provided in this section.


History: Add. 1972, Act 294, Eff. Mar. 30, 1973 ;-- Am. 1975, Act 329, Eff. Mar. 31, 1976 ;-- Am. 1977, Act 54, Imd. Eff. July 6, 1977 ;-- Am. 1980, Act 445, Imd. Eff. Jan. 15, 1981 ;-- Am. 1984, Act 84, Imd. Eff. Apr. 19, 1984 ;-- Am. 1987, Act 168, Imd. Eff. Nov. 9, 1987 ;-- Am. 1988, Act 126, Imd. Eff. May 23, 1988 ;-- Am. 2008, Act 241, Imd. Eff. July 17, 2008
Constitutionality: Subsection (1) of this section is unconstitutional but subsection (2) does not violate the due process and equal protection clauses. Shavers v Attorney General, 402 Mich 554; 267 NW2d 72 (1978).
Compiler's Notes: Act 143 of 1993, which amended this section, was submitted to the people by referendum petition (as Proposal C) and rejected by a majority of the votes cast at the November 8, 1994, general election.
Popular Name: Act 218
Popular Name: Essential Insurance
Popular Name: No-Fault Insurance


© 2009 Legislative Council, State of Michigan
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Old July 28th, 2014, 05:05 PM   #5
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I wonder if the jeep was plated.
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Old July 28th, 2014, 05:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
The Jeep did not have doors or a rearview mirror. The wiring in the Jeep was not connected except as to the steering column, ignition, and brakes. The tires were replaced with tires that were impractical for driving on a paved road.
doors are removable from factory, they aren't a permanent fixture.
wiring connected to steering column, ignition, and brakes? not much left is there?
tires that are impractical for driving on a paved road? are they not DOT stamped tires? is this some kind of joke? DOT stamp mean's it's an apporved tire to drive on paved roads, weather it's a 44" bogger or a 29" touring tire.
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Old July 28th, 2014, 05:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Plaintiff Steven Gividen was riding an ORV when it collided with a 1976 modified Jeep driven by Brandon Northrup, who was not a party to the lawsuit.
He is now ....
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Old July 28th, 2014, 09:59 PM   #8
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From what I read and understand... The rider of the orv StevenGividen that struck the jeep IS trying to get the jeep owners insurance to cover him, and the insurance company is refusing to cover the orv rider not the owner of the jeep
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Old July 28th, 2014, 10:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by michigan maniac View Post
From what I read and understand... The rider of the orv StevenGividen that struck the jeep IS trying to get the jeep owners insurance to cover him, and the insurance company is refusing to cover the orv rider not the owner of the jeep
Now he will be civility liable for the Collision .
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Old July 29th, 2014, 06:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
it sounds more like if you have a buggy and are trying to register it for street, that it won't be considered a motor vehicle but an ORV.

I'm guessing if it was just lifted, had DOT tires, not hacked up and was still 50% the original vehicle it would be fine. Again I'm just guessing based on what the article said about fiberglass tubs and not street able tires.
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Originally Posted by Tie Dyed View Post
I wonder if the jeep was plated.
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Originally Posted by skife View Post
doors are removable from factory, they aren't a permanent fixture.
wiring connected to steering column, ignition, and brakes? not much left is there?
tires that are impractical for driving on a paved road? are they not DOT stamped tires? is this some kind of joke? DOT stamp mean's it's an apporved tire to drive on paved roads, weather it's a 44" bogger or a 29" touring tire.
I wonder how this would have played out if it had an assembled vehicle title. When you swap a body, or replace a factory body with a fiberglass one, it is suppose to be changed over to an assembled vehicle title. Maybe this would have changed things, but I don't know.
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Old July 29th, 2014, 06:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skife View Post
doors are removable from factory, they aren't a permanent fixture.
wiring connected to steering column, ignition, and brakes? not much left is there?
tires that are impractical for driving on a paved road? are they not DOT stamped tires? is this some kind of joke? DOT stamp mean's it's an apporved tire to drive on paved roads, weather it's a 44" bogger or a 29" touring tire.
agree that doors re removable and that shouldn't have been an issue.

There are a lot more wiring needed that just ignition to be street legal. Horn, lights, indicators. I guess if you wanna get technical and not drive at night you don't need lights. If you want to signal with your arm, you don't need indicators. But point is, it sounds like someone built a trail rig, registered it and put PIP on it and how the insurance company is not considering it a motor vehicle.

It also doesn't say there is a DOT stamp on the tire. It could be like the silver lake buggies with paddles that are not DOT. There is just too much left out.

If I had a buggy that was 99% of the time off road, I wouldn't expect PIP to cover my liability. That is why they make umbrella coverage.
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Old July 29th, 2014, 07:36 AM   #12
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Accidents off road are way Differnt then accidents on road, orv areas don't require your vehicle or orv to have insurance, so if you get into an accident at silver lake, mounds, ect.. insurance companies won't be involved for the most part, unless you kill someone, or dnr writes you a ticket and finds you at fault no legal actions can be taken, its run at your own risk.

Last year at silver lake my friend went over a dune in their jeep, and a buggy jumped the same dune and smoked the side of the jeep as they were going down the back side, totaled front of the buggy, and the driver was pissed and wanted it covered by jeeps insurance, jeep didn't have insurance and dnr even said there is nothing the buggy owner can do about it, unless he makes a claim on his own insurance to cover repairs
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Old July 29th, 2014, 07:52 AM   #13
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In this case, not surprising, as its basically ORV guy vs insurance company. Insurnace company wins. Not an uncommon thing in court.

Its hard to make a judgement comment based on the text, without seeing the Jeep.
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