Original posting on September 14, 2018
In addition to having a valid driver license to legally drive a vehicle in Louisiana, you also must be covered by a valid auto insurance policy providing liability coverage. If you cause an accident, this coverage will provide compensation for the other driver’s medical and vehicle repair bills.
Uninsured or underinsured drivers who cause accidents can be held personally liable for the damages they cause to other people and property, and that money often comes straight out of their bank accounts.
If you’re a good driver who has never been in a car accident before and can’t imagine ever causing a crash, you may be wondering why you need to buy liability coverage at all. In fact, roughly 12% of Louisianians, or one in every eight drivers, don’t have insurance, according to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council. This puts our state on par with the national average.
But did you know that not carrying any auto insurance means that you may lose out on the chance to get any compensation for a crash, even one that wasn’t your fault?
What “No Pay, No Play” Means for Louisianians
Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play statute, passed in 2011, states that victims of another driver’s negligence are prevented from collecting the first $15,000 of bodily injury damages and the first $25,000 of property damages if they’re uninsured at the time of the accident.
Why did legislators do this? Very simple: they want to encourage people to buy insurance. The reasoning is two-fold:
- Drivers who break the law and drive without insurance should not be “rewarded” by still getting compensation when they get into crashes.
- Drivers who follow the law and buy insurance should not be “punished” by not being able to get compensation because the other driver didn’t have liability coverage.
4 Things to Know about No Pay, No Play in Louisiana
Here are four things to know about the No Pay, No Play law, including important exceptions:
- The law only requires that drivers carry the minimum required liability insurance, which is $15,000 in medical costs per person injured (capped at $30,000 for bodily injuries per accident) and $25,000 in vehicle repair costs. You aren’t required to purchase any other type of auto insurance.
- The law doesn’t apply to drivers from other states with different insurance requirements who get into crashes in Louisiana.
- The law doesn’t apply if the at-fault driver broke certain laws before the crash, including driving while intoxicated, intentionally causing the accident, fleeing the scene, or if the at-fault driver was committing a crime or fleeing after committing a crime.
- The law doesn’t apply if you were legally parked when the collision occurred.
If you have questions about whether this law affects you after a car accident, or whether any of these exceptions apply to you, contact our legal team today. We’re here to help.
Can I Still Get Compensation If I Don’t Have Auto Insurance?
If you are seriously injured in a crash caused by someone else but you don’t have auto insurance, you can still get compensation in some circumstances.
The law prevents you from collecting the first $15,000 of medical expenses and the first $25,000 of vehicle repair and other property damage (it’s not a coincidence that those are the minimum amounts everyone is required to purchase), but for any expenses over that, you may still be able to receive compensation.
For example, imagine you get into a crash that was not your fault, and now have $25,000 worth of medical bills. If you do not have liability insurance, the No Pay, No Play law will require you to pay $15,000 of those bills out of pocket. But you can pursue the remaining $10,000 from the other driver’s liability insurance.
The Importance of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
All auto insurance providers in Louisiana are required to offer uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Although drivers are not legally required to buy it, they are required to buy liability coverage.
However, we recommend purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (usually packaged together) to ensure that you always have a way to get compensation after a crash, even if the other driver doesn’t have any insurance.
If you are in a crash caused by someone else, and that person doesn’t have liability insurance, you may be left in the lurch for your accident-related expenses unless you have uninsured motorist coverage.
This auto insurance coverage allows you to file a claim with your own insurer if the other driver doesn’t have insurance and can’t pay.
Likewise, underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage provides you the extra amount you need to cover medical expenses when the other driver only has the minimum amount of coverage and your expenses exceed that amount. For example, if the other driver only purchased the minimum amount of $15,000 in coverage, but you have $25,000 in medical bills, you would receive $15,000 from the other driver’s liability insurance and the remaining $10,000 from your own underinsured motorist coverage.
Contact Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers for a Free Consult
At DeBosier, our Louisiana car accident lawyers fight for the rights of injured victims like you. It’s important to always get in touch with a lawyer if you were hurt or your vehicle was damaged in a crash, especially if you are unsure where the money will come from to pay your expenses. We’ll review the facts of your case and help you choose your next steps to maximize your chances of compensation.
Ready to speak to a lawyer? Call us today for a free consultation.
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