If you move to Louisiana or are just getting your license there, not only do you need a valid driver’s license to legally operate a vehicle, you also need a valid auto insurance policy. If you’re uninsured or underinsured, you can be held personally liable for any damage caused to other motorists or their property. And, the money for that is going to come right out of your pocket.
Louisiana doesn’t want uninsured or under-insured motorists on the road, which is why the Pelican State passed a law in 2011 called “No Pay, No Play.” The aim was to create disincentives so motorists wouldn’t be tempted to drive without auto insurance. If you do, and someone else hits you, you could lose out on the ability to get full compensation for that crash — even if it wasn’t your fault.
To understand the risks of operating a motor vehicle in the state without insurance, let’s take a closer look at why Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play statute was passed, and what it means for you.
Understanding Louisiana’s No Pay No Play Law
The 2011 law had a simple goal. Victims of another driver’s negligence pay a steep price if they were uninsured at the time of the accident since they were prevented from collecting the first $15,000 of bodily injury damages and the first $25,000 of property damages. If you’re in an accident and don’t have insurance, even if the other driver is at fault, you’ll need to cover medical costs up to $15,000 out of your own pocket, along with car repairs up to $25,000. That’s considerably more than what minimum auto insurance might have cost you.
The problem of uninsured or underinsured motorists is no small concern. At least 14 percent of all drivers in the U.S. are estimated to be uninsured, according to research by the Insurance Research Council. As their research points out, states that have the highest number of uninsured — and that includes Louisiana — also tend to have the highest insurance costs.
In fact, Louisiana is the second-most expensive state for auto insurance, partly due to the state having such a high percentage of uninsured motorists. That was the motivation behind the Louisiana Legislature’s decision to pass the No Pay No Play provision: to penalize the uninsured and underinsured for not paying into the system.
That’s the nuts and bolts of the law, although once you get into the details of the bill, but it’s actually more complex than that.
What’s Important to Know about No Pay, No Play in Louisiana
Louisiana is a comparative negligence state. In most of the state’s car accidents, damages are paid by the driver who caused the crash. It’s also based on their percentage of fault. If you’re injured in a crash that another driver caused, you can recover compensation from that driver’s insurance company.
The No Pay, No Play statute has several exceptions. For example:
- Drivers are only required to carry minimum liability insurance, not full or comprehensive coverage.
- It doesn’t apply to motorists who have car crashes in Louisiana but are from other states with different insurance requirements.
- If the at-fault driver broke other laws before the crash — such as driving under the influence or fleeing the scene — or if the at-fault driver got into the accident during the commission of a felony, the law wouldn’t apply.
The law also doesn’t apply to:
- Legally parked cars.
- At-fault drivers who intentionally cause the wreck
- Passenger claims unless the passenger co-owned the uninsured car.
If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, normally the victim files a claim with their insurance company, which then will try to collect funds directly from the driver. If that’s unsuccessful, the insurance company has to increase premiums for its customers to offset the money it lost on those claims. That’s a key reason why the law was passed.
The law does have critics who say uninsured drivers don’t have insurance because they simply can’t afford it in Louisiana. A law that deprives them of the ability to recover compensation when someone else is at fault punishes them even further, the critics say.
Of course, the law’s supporters counter that if uninsured motorists are not paying into the system, they shouldn’t get rewarded once their car is struck. Law-abiding drivers, they say, benefit from the privileges that come with having insurance.
If you have questions about how No Pay, No Play applies to you, or think you might qualify for one of the exceptions, it’s important to contact an experienced auto accident injury lawyer and avoid critical errors that can hurt your claim.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in Louisiana
If you’re involved in an accident in Louisiana and are not sure what to do next, the car accident attorneys at The Offices of E. Orum Young will use their decades of experience to assist you with your claim. With accolades that include the Gold Medal Congressional Award, you can be confident that we will handle your case thoroughly and with care.
Lawyers at E. Orum Young Law have filed more than 20,000 cases and have more than 35 years of experience. Give us a call today at 318-303-4194 for your free case review. It’s your right to know your options!