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Alighting A Parked Vehicle and The No Fault Insurance in Michigan

In the previous part of this series, we have looked at the insurance coverage of parked vehicles. In this article, let us look closely at the case of Frazier versus AllState Insurance Company and have a look at the scenario that led to the Michigan Supreme Court opinion. 


The alleged victim was going down her vehicle. In the course of trying to get things out of the compartment, she slipped and fell in ice. Since the vehicle was parked and it belongs to her, she could not file a personal injury case but an auto accident no-fault benefit from her insurance under the concept of a parked vehicle. Is she entitled?

Michigan Supreme Court Opinion

The Michigan Supreme Court believes that she is not entitled to parked vehicle exceptions under Michigan auto accident rules. 

With  respect  to  MCL  500.3106(1)(c),  “alight”  means  “to  dismount  from  a  horse,  descend  from  a  vehicle,  etc.”  or  “to  settle  or  stay  after  descending;  come  to  rest.”    Random  House  Webster’s  College  Dictionary  (1997).    See  also  New  Shorter  Oxford  English  Dictionary  (defining  “alight”  as  “to  descend  and  settle;  come  to  earth  from  the  air”).1    Moreover,  that  the  injury  must  be  sustained  “while”  alighting  indicates  that  “alighting” does not occur in a single moment but occurs as the result of a process.  The process begins when a person initiates the descent from a vehicle and is completed when an individual has effectively “descended from a vehicle” and has “come to rest”—when one  has  successfully  transferred  full  control  of  one’s  movement  from  reliance  upon  the  vehicle to one’s body.  This is typically accomplished when “both feet are planted firmly on  the  ground.” 

Based  on  the  foregoing  analysis,  plaintiff  is  not  entitled  to  benefits  under  the  no-fault  act  because  her  injury  did  not  arise  out  of  the  use  of  a  parked  vehicle  under  MCL  500.3106(1).    Plaintiff  was  injured  when  she  slipped  and  fell  on  a  patch  of  ice  while  closing the passenger door of her vehicle.  Plaintiff had placed a few personal items in the passenger  compartment  via  the  passenger  door,  stood  up,  and  stepped  out of the way of the door when she closed the door and fell.  Insofar as she was in contact with the door of the vehicle at the time of her injury, she was clearly in contact with the vehicle itself, not with  “equipment”  mounted  thereon.    Therefore,  her  injury  was  not  “a  direct  result  of  physical  contact  with  equipment  permanently  mounted  on  the  vehicle  .  .  .  .”    MCL  500.3106(1)(b).    Further,  before  her  injury,  plaintiff  had  been  standing  with  both  feet  planted  firmly  on  the  ground  outside  of  the  vehicle;  she  was  entirely  in  control  of  her  body’s movement, and she was in no way reliant upon the vehicle itself.  Therefore, she was not in the process of “alighting from” the vehicle.  MCL 500.3106(1)(c).  At the time of her injury, the plaintiff had already alighted.

Key Takeaways

This ruling of the Supreme Court provided us with three key takeaways:

  • The  injury  must  be  sustained  “while”  alighting  indicates  that  “alighting” does not occur in a single moment but occurs as the result of a process. It begins when a person initiates the descent from a vehicle and is accomplished when “both feet are planted firmly on  the  ground.” 
  • The injury must be sustained during the process, not before or after.
  • The exceptions for parked vehicle insurance benefits are strict.

Get Proper Coverage

In case of doubt, keep in mind that it is your no-fault insurance provider who would ultimately pay for your medical bills. As long as you get unlimited or no-limit coverage, you should be properly covered at a time when you need the best kind of coverage for your health and safety.

Contact Your Lawyer Today

If you have an insurance claim that you need assistance with, you should contact us today. A lawyer can help you get started with your claim. A lawyer at Haque Legal will see to it that your needs are met from the beginning to the end of the proceedings. You are always in good hands with Haque Legal and what it has to offer.


The article that you have read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and it is not to be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.

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