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What is Louisiana’s No Pay No Play Law?

Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play law prohibits uninsured drivers from recovering compensation for the first $15,000 in bodily injury and the first $25,000 in property damage they sustain when involved in a car accident. However, there are a number of important exceptions to this rule. Our attorneys explain how this and other insurance laws in Louisiana may come into play in your case.

Reach out to the award-winning car accident attorneys at Shamieh Law to learn more. When you entrust us with your car accident case, you can rest assured that you will receive the high-quality, individualized representation you deserve. Call (469) 813-7332 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

No Pay, No Play: Understanding Auto Insurance Requirments in Louisiana

In total, 48 states require drivers within their borders to carry auto insurance. Why? To ensure that auto accident victims are not left high and dry in the event of a crash caused at little to no fault of their own. Auto liability insurance ensures compensation is available to cover at least part of the expenses incurred by blameless accident victims for their injuries and losses.

Louisiana’s auto liability insurance minimums break down as follows:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury to one person
  • $30,000 for bodily injury to more than one person in a single accident
  • $25,000 for damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property

However, despite these requirements, many drivers remain undeterred. According to the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 12.6 percent of motorists in the U.S. were uninsured in 2019, or about one in eight drivers. At 11.7 percent, the number was slightly lower in Louisiana than the national average.

Another ongoing issue is the high price of auto insurance in Louisiana. Drivers in the state pay approximately $2,500 a year in auto liability insurance, a major expense for many families. Only drivers in Florida pay a higher average. According to one local news outlet, “A combination of poor infrastructure, a high percentage of uninsured drivers, an eager litigious climate, and other factors” contribute to these high rates in Louisiana.

To combat these problems, Louisiana passed its original No Pay, No Play statute back in 1997. Codified in La. Stat. tit. 32 § 866, the most recent version provides as follows:

“There shall be no recovery for the first $15,000 of bodily injury and no recovery for the first $25,000 of property damage . . . arising out of a motor vehicle accident, for such injury or damages occasioned by an owner or operator of a motor vehicle involved . . . [who does not] maintain compulsory motor vehicle

Do Other States Have No Pay, No Play Laws?

Louisiana is not the only state that has tried to enforce auto insurance requirements through No Pay, No Pay laws. Other states that have implemented similar initiatives are outlined below.

State Statute
Alaska Alaska Stat. § 09.65.320
California Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 3333.4
Indiana I.C. § 27-7-5.1; I.C. § 34-30-29.2
Iowa I.C.A. § 613.20
Kansas K.S.A. § 40-3130
Michigan M.C.L.A. § 500.3135(2)(c)
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 303.390
New Jersey N.J.S.A. § 39:6A-4.5
North Dakota N.D.C.C. § 26.1-41-20
Oklahoma 47 O.S.2011 § 7-116
Oregon O.R.S. § 31.715

Are There Exceptions to Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play Law?

Yes. There are a handful of exceptions to the No Pay, No Play law in Louisiana. For example, it may not apply if you:

  1. Were hit by a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  2. Were hit by a driver committing a felony at the time of the crash.
  3. Were hit by a driver who fled the scene.
  4. Were hit by a driver who intentionally caused the crash.
  5. Were a passenger but not the co-owner of the uninsured vehicle.
  6. Are from a state that does not require auto liability insurance.
  7. Were legally parked when the accident happened.

Determining whether Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play law applies to your case can be tricky. Our knowledgeable and compassionate Louisiana personal injury lawyers can help. We will conduct a full investigation of your case and determine if any exceptions apply.

Why Are No Pay, No Play Laws Controversial?

Insurers are in the business of spreading risk. When they collect monthly premiums from their policyholders, the money is pooled. In the event one of their insureds is involved in an accident, insurers begrudgingly draw on the pool’s resources to pay for injuries and losses up to the policy limits.

To encourage (or coerce) all road users to contribute to insurance pools, nearly all states require drivers to purchase auto liability insurance. After all, every road user contributes to the risk of accidents on the road—so the argument goes. In other words, supporters of No Pay, No Play laws think it is unfair for uninsured road users to reap benefits on the backs of those who purchase auto liability insurance.

Meanwhile, folks who argue against No Pay, No Play laws believe they unfairly discriminate against those who simply cannot afford to pay for auto liability insurance. Some opponents have even questioned whether No Pay, No Play laws are unconstitutional because they violate the principle of equal protection. A somewhat more utilitarian counterargument against these laws also questions whether, at the end of the day, they achieve their purpose.

Are No Pay, No Play Laws Constitutional?

So far, the constitutionality of No Pay, No Play laws has been challenged in three states: Louisiana, New Jersey, and Oklahoma. In 1998, the Supreme Court of Louisiana upheld the constitutionality of such laws in Progressive Sec. Ins. v. Foster. In 2004, the Supreme Court of New Jersey did so in Caviglia v. Royal Tours of America.

However, in 2014, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma came to the opposite conclusion in Montgomery v. Potter. The majority explained that the Oklahoma No Pay, No Pay statute “creates an impermissible special class by restricting damages in civil negligence actions for victims who also happen to be uninsured drivers while the general class of automobile accident victims is not prevented from the recovery of damages for pain and suffering.”

To learn more about the ongoing debate surrounding No Pay, No Pay laws around the country, see the following resources:

What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Auto Insurance?

You could try filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver even if they are uninsured. However, chances are they will not have the assets to compensate you fully.

Alternatively, you can file a claim through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy. In Louisiana, insurers must include this coverage in the policies they sell unless the driver purchasing expressly rejects the coverage in writing. You may also turn to your first-party medical payments insurance, sometimes called MedPay. Finally, collision or comprehensive coverage could cover your property damage.

As a last resort, you could sue and secure a judgment lien against the at-fault driver. Once a judgment lien is filed with the appropriate government authority, such as the parish clerk’s office, it becomes a matter of public record and may attach to the debtor’s real estate, personal property, or other assets. The lien typically remains in place until the underlying debt is satisfied, either through payment by the debtor or through the sale of the property to which the lien is attached.

Steps To Take If Hit By an Uninsured Driver

An auto accident can be extremely stressful, especially if you suffer serious injuries and are facing mounting medical bills. In all cases, the steps you take in the aftermath of a car accident can significantly impact your prospects of recovering compensation. Take the following steps if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver in Louisiana:

  1. File a Police Report – Immediately report the accident to the police, regardless of the other driver’s insurance status. A police report will document the incident and provide essential evidence.
  2. Gather Information – Collect as much information as possible from the uninsured driver, including their name, contact details, and vehicle information. Take photos and videos of the accident scene and any damages.
  3. Notify Your Insurance Company – Inform your own insurance company about the accident. Your policy may include uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM), medical payments coverage, collision, or comprehensive coverage.
  4. Seek Medical Attention – Even if your injuries seem minor, seek medical attention promptly. Documenting your injuries is crucial for substantiating your insurance claims.
  5. Consult an Attorney – Consult with our Louisiana car accident lawyers as soon as possible. We have extensive experience handling uninsured motorist claims and can help you navigate the complexities of your case.

Questions About No Pay, No Play? Contact Shamieh Law To Learn More.

No matter which side of the aisle you stand on when it comes to Louisiana’s No Pay, No Play law, handling the aftermath of a car accident can be stressful. Our skilled car accident lawyers in Lake Charles are standing by to help. We will ensure you know your full legal rights and options. Call 337-477-7222 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.

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