According to the Insurance Information Institute, around 12% of all U.S. drivers in 2019 were driving without car insurance. Depending on how your state handles auto insurance, this can be a scary statistic for insured drivers. If you live in an at-fault state and you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you can’t file a claim with their insurance company since they don’t have one.
Certain states combat this by having “no pay, no play” laws. No pay, no play laws can prevent an uninsured driver from being able to recover compensation for economic damages up to a certain point, even if they weren’t the at-fault driver. If you are in an accident in Louisiana and you do not have auto insurance, you may be limited in the amount of compensation you can receive as a result of the accident.
In this article, we’ll go through Louisiana’s no pay, no play laws, as well as the exceptions that the law has in place to help uninsured motorists receive compensation in certain cases. If you have been involved in an accident with someone who does not have car insurance, call Louisiana car accident attorney Michael J. Vergis. He can help you explore your options for seeking compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
No Pay, No Play Defined
Almost every single U.S. state requires drivers to have some form of auto insurance or, in some cases, establish financial responsibility, in order to drive legally. Several states also have what are called “no pay, no play” laws, which exist to protect insured motorists from having to pay certain non-economic damages to uninsured motorists. They also help ensure all drivers comply with state financial responsibility laws.
No pay, no play laws prohibit uninsured drivers from receiving compensation from an insured driver’s insurance company, even if the insured driver was at fault for the accident. The idea is that if an uninsured driver cannot provide someone else with the minimum amount of liability insurance coverage, they do not deserve to receive that minimum coverage from someone else.
Uninsured motorists can still file a personal injury claim for damages, but they will most likely be unable to recover full compensation.
No Pay, No Play States
In certain states, if you are uninsured and you are in a car accident, you may be denied a certain amount of compensation. The U.S. states that currently have no pay, no play laws include:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
Louisiana Liability Insurance Requirements
In Louisiana, drivers are required to carry liability insurance with 15/30/25 limits. This means that their car insurance policy must be able to provide at least:
- $15,000 in compensation for bodily injury to one person in an accident;
- $30,000 in compensation for bodily injury to two or more people in an accident; and
- $25,000 in compensation for property damage.
Louisiana No Pay, No Play Law
Louisiana’s no pay, no play statute says that if a driver is involved in an accident, and they do not have car insurance, they will not be able to recover economic damages up to a certain amount, even if they were not at fault for the collision. The law prevents uninsured drivers from collecting compensation equal to the minimum limits for liability insurance in Louisiana.
Basically, this law says that if drivers who don’t buy insurance cannot provide that minimum amount of compensation to another driver, then they shouldn’t be able to collect that amount of compensation from someone who does pay for insurance.
La. R.S. § 32:866
Louisiana Revised Statute § 32:866 outlines the limitations on damages that uninsured drivers can be awarded. According to this statute, they are not able to recover the first $15,000 worth of compensation for any bodily injuries and are not able to recover the first $25,000 worth of compensation for any property damage.
It also states that if someone in a car accident does not have the proper insurance, the person who is found liable for the car accident can use this statute as an affirmative defense against a claim for compensation. This statute protects an at-fault driver from having to pay for $15,000 worth of medical bills and/or $25,000 worth of property damage in the event that they are in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance.
Under this law, all individuals who apply for a driver’s license, register a vehicle, or operates/owns a vehicle in Louisiana must abide by these regulations. Additionally, anyone who applies for or renews their driver’s license, vehicle title, or vehicle registration must sign a document stating that they understand and consent to the regulations outlined in this statute.
Are There Exceptions to No Pay, No Play?
Yes, there are exceptions to Louisiana’s no pay, no play law. An uninsured driver will be able to file a claim for full compensation if the at-fault driver was:
- Under the influence at the time of the accident;
- Intentionally caused the accident;
- Fled the scene of the crash; or
- Was committing a felony offense at the time of the accident.
Additionally, the no pay, no play law only applies to the vehicle’s operator or owner. The passengers of an uninsured motor vehicle are still able to file a claim for compensation unless they were the owner of the car.
Lastly, if the uninsured vehicle was legally parked at the time of the accident, the driver or owner of the uninsured car could file a claim for economic damages.
Can Uninsured Drivers Recover Compensation for Injuries?
An uninsured motorist can still file a claim for compensation if their economic damages were greater than the no pay, no play limits. For example, if you are in an accident and you sustain catastrophic injuries that have left you with $100,000 of bodily injury damages, you are only exempt from receiving compensation for the first $15,000 of your medical expenses. That means that if the other driver was at fault for the accident, you could still receive $85,000 worth of compensation for your injuries.
Also, if you are in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you can file a claim to recover non-economic damages, even if you don’t have liability insurance. Since car accidents can cause a great deal of physical and emotional trauma, many accident victims seek compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and more.
When Should You Call an Attorney?
If you are in a car accident that was not your fault, you should call a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. This is true for both insured and uninsured drivers. While you may not receive full compensation for certain economic damages if you are uninsured, you may still be able to recover non-economic losses like physical and emotional suffering, disfigurement, and more.
If you are insured and you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you should also call a Bossier personal injury attorney. They can help you file an uninsured motorist claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver and recover compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Attorney Michael J. Vergis can help you file a claim for compensation or represent you in a personal injury suit. Call our law firm at (318) 698-3724 so we can establish an attorney-client relationship with you and get to work on your case as soon as possible.
Contact Shreveport Car Accident Lawyer Michael J. Vergis Today
No matter if you are an insured or uninsured driver, if you have been in a car accident, it’s important to know your legal options. An experienced Bossier City car accident lawyer like Michael J. Vergis can evaluate your case and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. You may be able to recover compensation for things like medical expenses and property damages, even if you don’t have car insurance.
With over 25 years of experience serving the residents of Northwest Louisiana, Attorney Michael J. Vergis is prepared to help you fight for compensation, even in the face of no pay, no play laws. Call us at (318) 698-3724 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation regarding your car accident claim today.