Louisiana's no-pay, no-play car crash

Louisiana’s “No-Pay, No-Play” Statute

Louisiana’s No-Play, No-Pay Law Stops Car Crash Victims From Recovering

Louisiana’s No-Pay, No-Play law bars uninsured and underinsured drivers from collecting the first $15,000 of bodily injury damages. It also prevents the uninsured from recovering the first $25,000 of property damages after a car crash. Even if the other driver is at fault, an uninsured driver will have to cover the first damages.  This includes medical costs up to $15,000 and car repairs up to $25,000.

Car crash victims sometimes are left without an ability to recover damages. The Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that approximately 14 percent of all motorists in the U.S. are uninsured – nearly one out of every seven drivers. States, such as Louisiana that have a high number of uninsured drivers, also tend to have higher insurance costs. We are all frustrated by high insurance rates! That is because accidents caused by uninsured drivers cause insurance companies to lose money, and to charge more for insurance.

Here’s how the “No-Pay, No-Play” Law works

If the At Fault Driver Does Not Have Insurance At The Time Of A Car Crash

The insurance company of the person who is ‘at fault’ for a car crash is generally responsible for paying the cost of repairs to the innocent driver, who was not at fault. But, if the ‘at-fault’ driver does not have insurance, then the innocent driver will have to rely on their own insurance after a car crash. Usually, when a person files a claim against their own insurance company, the insurance company will pursue the other party’s insurance carrier through a process called subrogation. However, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, the innocent driver’s insurance company must try to collect funds directly from the driver.

Usually, if a person is uninsured, and caused a car crash, then it is a good bet they do not have assets that the insurance company can seize to cover their loss. So, the insurance company will have to increase the premiums for its customers in order to offset the lost money spent on claims after a car crash.

Uninsured Drivers in Louisiana

Louisiana is the second most expensive state for auto insurance – partly because of its high number of uninsured drivers. In an effort to reduce insurance premiums for its consumers, the state legislature passed Act 1476, known as the Omnibus Premium Reduction Act. One part section of this comprehensive law was the Louisiana No-Pay, No-Play provision, enacted to penalize uninsured and underinsured drivers while encouraging them to purchase adequate levels of insurance.

The goal was to reduce insurance rates.

Louisiana Law (La. R.S. § 32:866)

The statute reads, in part:

“[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.”

Exceptions to Louisiana’s No-Pay, No-Play Law

There are exceptions to the law in very limited circumstances.  These include:

  • Only the state-required minimum liability insurance, not full coverage, is required to be exempt from the “No-Pay, No-Play” law.
  • Does not apply to legally parked cars.
  • The law does not apply to drivers from another state if their state did not require them to have liability insurance at the time of the car crash.
  • Does not apply if the other driver is convicted of driving while intoxicated, intentionally causes the wreck, fled the scene, or was furthering the commission of a felony at the time of the accident.
  • The law does not apply to a passenger’s claim unless the passenger is a co-owner of the uninsured car.

Those opposed to No-Pay, No-Play contend that uninsured drivers don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it. They claim that the law simply punishes people who are already having hard times.

However, proponents of the law argue they are necessary for the name of fairness. They state that uninsured drivers shouldn’t be rewarded by a system they did not pay into. And, shouldn’t benefit from law-abiding drivers’ insurance, while denying that same privilege to any drivers they themselves happen to hit.

No Pay, No Play Laws Nationally

Currently, 11 states have some version of No-pay, No-play laws on the books: Alaska, California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Oregon. Unlike Louisiana, many states with No-pay, No-play limitations on car crash claims, are only on noneconomic damages. This would include items such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship. Economic damages, the uninsured motorist’s actual medical bills, and property damage are typically still recoverable in these jurisdictions.

Louisiana is the only state whose law specifically enumerates No-pay, No-play deductible amounts.  These are equal to the state-required minimum bodily injury and property damage liability coverages for motorists.

Contact if you have questions about your car crash claim.