PERSONAL INJURY CASES – WHAT IS LOUISIANA’S “NO PAY, NO PLAY” LAW AND HOW MIGHT IT AFFECT MY PERSONA
Several states, including the state of Louisiana, have passed laws with “no pay, no play” rules. These laws limit the amount uninsured motorists can recover when they are injured by insured motorists. When a driver suffers an injury or property damage in a car accident in Louisiana, they can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company to obtain compensation for their losses. Louisiana’s “no pay, no play” law, passed in 2011, may prevent drivers who are uninsured or underinsured from collecting on a small insurance claim if they are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Specifically, the law states “[t]here shall be no recovery for the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and no recovery for the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damage based on any cause or right of action arising out of a motor vehicle accident, for such injury or damages occasioned by an owner or operator of a motor vehicle involved in such accident who fails to own or maintain compulsory motor vehicle liability security.”
An Example of No Pay No Play Insurance Laws in Action This means that for personal injury claims against the negligent driver and their insurance company, the injured driver who does not have car insurance will not be able to recover the first $15,000 against the insurance company. But if the amount of your injuries is greater than $15,000, you can recover an amount in excess of $15,000. For example, if your personal injury damages amount to $250,000, you will be able to recover $235,000 ($250,000 – $15,000).
Also, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, the costs of vehicle repairs and medical treatment will fall on the injured driver. Thus, it is important for the injured driver to have proper insurance in the event that the negligent driver does not have sufficient insurance.
General Insurance Requirement for Louisiana Drivers To legally drive in Louisiana, drivers must have a valid driver’s license and a valid auto insurance policy to legally drive in Louisiana. The uninsured driver could be required to pay some of the expenses out of pocket, which can be rather expensive depending on the extent of the damages. However, the law only requires that drivers carry minimum liability insurance (i.e., you are not required to purchase full or comprehensive coverage.) The minimum car insurance requirements in Louisiana are as follows:
1. $15,000 per person for bodily injury liability; 2. $30,000 per accident for bodily injury liability; and 3. $25,000 for property damage liability.
Exceptions to Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play Law
Fortunately, Louisiana’s “no pay, no play” does not apply to all car accidents. The following are exceptions to the law:
1. The other driver is cited for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or another mind-altering substance and later convicted. Since the other driver needs to be convicted for this exception to apply, it is particularly important that someone familiar with the legal system tracks the progress of the case.
2. The other driver intentionally caused the accident.
3. The other driver flees from the scene of the accident.
4. At the time of the accident, the other driver is in furtherance of the commission of a felony offense. Louisiana recognizes that drivers who can’t afford insurance should not be responsible for paying bodily injuries or property damages if you were hit by someone engaged in a criminal act.
5. Your vehicle was legally parked at the time of the accident. The state of Louisiana recognizes that even if you don’t have car insurance, or you don’t have enough insurance as required by state law, you shouldn’t be responsible for paying for any bodily injury or property damages if your car is legally parked at the time of an accident.
6. Your vehicle is registered in another state. Louisiana has strict insurance laws, but it recognizes it can’t enforce these laws on residents of other states. If you are an out of state driver whose state does not require minimum coverage and someone hits your car while you are in Louisiana, the “no pay, no play” law does not apply.
7. The law does not apply to a passenger’s claim unless the passenger is a co-owner of the uninsured car. If you are riding in a car with a friend or family member who is uninsured, Louisiana recognizes this is not your fault and does not apply the “no pay, no play” law to passengers of uninsured or underinsured car accidents.
Besides Louisiana, other states that have laws similar to Louisiana’s “no pay, no play” law. Those states are Alaska, California, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Oregon. In many of these states, the law only applies to non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Louisiana is one of the only states where the law applies to economic damages (i.e., vehicle repairs and medical treatment). Louisiana established the “no pay, no play” law in an attempt to reduce the car insurance rates for legal drivers because insurance companies raised the rates to cover drivers who were driving uninsured or underinsured. Insurance companies believed that when an insured driver is involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, insurance companies lose a large amount of money. Louisiana countered this issue of the perceived rising insurance costs by instituting the statute. Thus, you must ensure that you carry minimum liability insurance and it does not lapse from missing payments.
At the Law Office of Gaynell Williams LLC, we have attorneys readily available to assist after you are involved in an automobile accident. Our attorneys will seek fair compensation for any personal injuries or property damage that you sustained, and appropriate medical attention to alleviate injuries after an automobile accident.
If you have been injured in a car accident as a result of the negligence of another driver, or if you have suffered property damage due to the negligence of another driver, contact Gaynell Williams today at (504) 302-2462 for a free, no obligation consultation. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule. New Orleans personal injury lawyer Gaynell Williams, L.L.C. has offices in Gretna and Downtown New Orleans (by appointment only) to serve victims of auto accidents, work related accidents, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2020 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law.