No-Pay, No-Play states and regulations
Put simply, "No-Pay, No-Play” laws are state-specific regulations limiting one's right to sue for certain damages after an accident if they were not insured at the time it occurred — regardless of fault. No-pay, No-Play laws may limit a driver's compensation if they were intoxicated or in the commission of a felony at the time of the accident.
Let’s explore No-Pay, No-Play laws by state.
First, some terminology:
Below are some definitions that you may find handy when trying to understand No-Pay, No-Play.
Non-economic losses: intangible losses, including pain and suffering, inconvenience, and emotional stress.
Economic loss: material losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
Which states have No-Pay, No-Play laws?
No-Pay, No-Play laws are not on the books in every state. Even the states that do have them vary in how they implement them, and what rights they grant to uninsured drivers. Here's a list of states that currently have No-Pay, No-Play laws, along with a brief summary of laws themselves.
Drivers suffering personal injury or death may not be able to sue for non-economic damages if they were driving without insurance. Like California, this can be overridden if the at-fault party was under the influence, drove recklessly, acted with intent, or fled the scene.
Drivers are unable to recover non-economic damages in California after an accident under three circumstances:
- If a driver is under the influence at the time of the accident.
- If a driver is not insured.
- If the injured driver cannot establish financial responsibility, as required by the state.
This will be negated if the at-fault party was also under the influence at the time of the accident and convicted.
Indiana No-Pay, No-Play law works differently than in other states. A driver forfeits their right to collect non-economic damages by doing both of the following:
- Driving uninsured at the time of the accident.
- Carrying a history of driving uninsured.
Indiana defines "history of driving uninsured" as having been involved in an accident while uninsured or cited for failure to show proof of insurance in the past five years.
Iowa does not limit a driver's ability to sue simply for driving uninsured. The only way a driver's recourse is limited is if they are convicted of a felony occurring at the time of the accident.
There are two ways in which a driver may lose their ability to sue for non-economic losses in Kansas: failure to maintain mandated personal injury protection (PIP), or a conviction for driving under the influence.
Louisiana adds color to its No-Pay, No-Play laws. If a driver is uninsured at the time of an incident, they forfeit their right to sue:
- For the first $15,000 of bodily injury property damage
- For the first $25,000 in property damage
This can be negated if the at-fault driver was convicted of driving under the influence, acting intentionally, or fleeing the scene of the accident.
Michigan's No-Pay, No-Play law is simple. The not-at-fault party can't recoup damages if they are uninsured at the time of the incident.
A driver loses the right to pursue damages — economic and non-economic — by driving uninsured in Missouri. The only way around this is proving the other driver was driving under the influence.
New Jersey is one of the few states that bars drivers from economic- and non-economic compensation. Drivers cede this right for the following reasons:
- Driving uninsured
- Driving under the influence
- Driving with intent to hurt oneself or others
If a driver has at least one previous conviction of driving without insurance, they lose the ability to sue for non-economic damages after an accident.
Oregon’s No-Pay, No-Play law is similar to those of other states. Driving uninsured results in the forfeiture of the right to sue for non-economic losses. If the at-fault driver is under the influence, driving recklessly, or causing a collision intentionally, the law is voided.
No-Pay, No-Play laws: what to consider
In every state — excluding New Hampshire — car insurance is a requirement in order to own and operate a vehicle on public roads. Drivers in the above states pay an extra penalty for failing to maintain their insurance coverage, as they forfeit the right to sue for damages.
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