When you drive in Missouri, you are legally required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. This is to protect you and others on the road. If you fail to carry insurance, then you are putting yourself at great risk financially, but you are also harming others, by leaving them unprotected if you cause harm to someone. Missouri law is very strict when it comes to uninsured motorists. The Krause and Kinsman Law Firm wants you to understand your rights when it comes to getting hurt in a car wreck.
What is No-Pay No-Play in Missouri?
Missouri law says that if you fail to carry auto insurance and you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, you will not be able to collect non-economic damages, even if someone else was 100 percent at fault. So what does this actually mean? In short, here’s how this law works:
Say you get into an accident, and the other driver is clearly 100 percent to blame. For instance, he runs a red light and strikes your vehicle. You failed to carry auto insurance. In this situation, you could still file a claim against the other driver’s insurance, but your reasonable and related medical bills and lost wages are all that you would be allowed to recover. In other words, you could not recover things like pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Missouri Law is Harsh
Even if you live in an urban area and do not own a vehicle, the law applies to you. Say you borrow a friend’s car and don’t realize he or she is uninsured, if neither you nor your friend carries auto insurance, you will be limited by this law.
Exceptions to “No pay, no play”
There are just a couple minor exceptions, such as where the other driver is intoxicated by alcohol or high on drugs at the time of the accident. You should discuss your unique situation with a lawyer right away to determine if you may have a right to recover.
Constitutionality of the Law in Missouri
Several courts around the state have held that the law is unconstitutional. These decisions generally base their rationale on the fact that the Missouri Constitution guarantees that all individuals have the right to pursue redress of their injuries. Likewise, both the state and federal constitutions ensure that all citizens are granted equal protection under the law. To deprive one group of the rights given another group could be viewed as a violation of state and federal constitutional rights.
While the law is still on the books and still very much in force, it may well be on the way out. Ongoing appeals and frequent challenges are carving out new exceptions every year. If you’ve been hurt by a negligent driver in Missouri, don’t try to guess at your rights. Call the experienced auto accident lawyers of the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm today. We never charge for a consultation, and we only get paid if you do. Call today for your personalized free case evaluation.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.