No-Pay, No-Play Laws
Along with housing, groceries, and cell phone bills, one of the things everyone with a vehicle has to include in their monthly expenses is insurance premiums. Car insurance is required for virtually all drivers across the U.S., in varying degrees depending on where you live. If you’re pulled over, police will ask for proof of insurance as well to make sure people keep up with it.
However, insurance can be expensive, especially if you’ve been in accidents before. People with financial trouble or just looking to save a little money may think they are safe drivers and can get away with not paying for insurance. That can backfire on them, even if the accident is not their fault, through “No Pay, No Play” laws.
What are No Pay, No Play laws?
Many states have implemented laws that block uninsured drives from being able to sue for certain benefits if they are uninsured at the time of the accident. In essence, states want to block uninsured drivers from being able to claim benefits when the other party couldn’t do the same because the uninsured driver did not pay for insurance.
These block the uninsured driver’s ability to sue for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, or loss of companionship. The other aspects of a car accident, such as property damage and loss of wages, could still be recoverable, though.
A handful of states, such as Kansas, Alaska, and California have these laws, and other states are experimenting with them. Incentivizing motorists to all carry insurance is a challenge for states, and research has shown that they could have the effect of lowering insurance costs by pushing more drivers to carry coverage, according to the Insurance Research Institute.
How could they affect my case?
The No Pay, No Play laws go into effect only when the uninsured party is not at fault. If you caused the accident but you have insurance and the other party doesn’t, your insurance should only have to cover the economic damages to the person. These can be extensive, covering vehicle, medical, and wage losses, but they have to be thoroughly documented and quantified.
The particulars of the law vary by state. For instance, Alaska’s No Pay, No Play law essentially becomes void if the at-fault driver was impaired when the accident happens, acted recklessly with intent, or fled the scene. In Indiana, the uninsured driver has to have had a prior financial violation for the law to go into effect. If you’re uninsured at the time of the accident, make sure you know whether your state has a No Pay, No Play law and the particulars of that law.
Vehicle insurance is not a casual expense and is one you should plan. If you get into financial hardship, many insurance companies offer payment plans and policy adjustments that can lower your payments, and with the economic hardship during the pandemic, many insurers are offering special programs or deferrals for policy holders. Getting into an accident is unpredictable, but that’s what insurance is for. If you’re injured in an accident, it’s much easier for an attorney to
help you make your case if you held up your responsibility by carrying insurance. Then, they can help you negotiate for the full compensation you deserve for your injury.