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Q

In Louisiana we have a "no pay - no play" law which states that if a driver is involved in an auto accident and is not at fault, that driver cannot file an insurance claim if he/she doesn't have insurance. What if an insured Louisiana driver is at fault in an auto accident and the car which is hit is registered in Maryland, however, the Maryland car is not insured. Can the Maryland driver still file a claim? Is there a "no pay - no play" law in Maryland?


A

While legislation has been introduced regarding the "no pay no play" concept for those driving without auto insurance in Maryland they have yet to enact any law like this. The latest MD house bill 1369 which proposed establishing that an individual driving a motor vehicle that is not covered by insurance is considered to have waived the right to recover non-economic loss damages under specified circumstances was referred to an interim study in March of 2008.

As you noted Louisiana does have a no pay no play law in effect, and is one of the strictest in the nation. Legislators in more than 20 states have proposed "no pay, no play" laws that ban uninsured drivers from suing for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering but only five (5) states have thus far enacted such laws. The states with the no pay no play insurance law are Alaska, Michigan, California, Louisiana and New Jersey.

In Michigan uninsured drivers who are 50 percent or more at fault cannot collect non-economic damages in the event of an auto accident. California's plan (Proposition 213) goes further by curtailing lawsuits for drunk drivers as well as for those who are uninsured. New Jersey's law is similar to California's Proposition 213 and specifies that uninsured and drunk drivers, as well as motorists who intentionally commit other crimes, may not file lawsuits for economic or non-economic damages. In Iowa a bill signed into law prohibits motorists from collecting non-economic damages for injuries resulting from an accident if the motorist was using the vehicle while committing a felony, so it does not address the uninsured but does limit non-economic damages for some drivers.

In Louisiana if you do not have liability coverage on your car at the time of an accident, the "No Pay, No Play" law would apply, whether you are a LA state resident or from another state that requires you to be insured. Under the Louisiana no pay/no play law an individual who does not have liability insurance cannot collect for the first $10,000 of damages in an accident, no matter who is at fault. So while Maryland does not have no pay, no play laws of their own since the accident occurred in Louisiana their laws apply and the MD driver should not be able to claim for the first $10,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses and the first $10,000 in property damage.

This LA statute regarding this issue became effective in 1998 and since its enactment; this LA law has continued to evolve through legislative amendments, as well as jurisprudential interpretation. The no pay, no play statute now applies to residents of all states while driving vehicles registered in Louisiana, as well as to residents of all states that require compulsory motor vehicle insurance.

Prior to 2001, state law (RS 32:861) noted specifically that their mandatory motor vehicle liability laws were directed at vehicles registered in this state and thus the No Pay, no play provisions were not applied to residents of other states, unless, at the time of the accident, the out-of-state resident was "driving a car registered in Louisiana and did not have the necessary insurance."

Then in 2001, Louisiana law was amended to cover vehicles registered in other states. Specifically, the new law requires insurance and proof thereof, not only for Louisiana but for all "other states or jurisdictions that require liability security."

As we mentioned Louisiana Revised Statute (RS) section 32:861 speaks of the mandatory motor vehicle liability security that one must have on their vehicle. Subsection E is what appears to apply to your situation with the accident with the uninsured motorist from MD, here it states that:

(1) The owners of motor vehicles registered in other states or jurisdictions that require liability security shall maintain the security and proof thereof as required by their respective state or jurisdiction while the vehicle is operated in this state.

(2) Failure to comply with the requirements of this Subsection shall subject the owner and the operator to the sanctions which are provided in R.S. 32:57 and limitations on recovery of damages provided for in this Part. Owners and operators of any motor vehicle in violation of this Subsection shall be subject to limitation of recovery as provided for in R.S. 32:866.

So Louisiana's "No Pay, No Play" statute (La. Revised Statute 32:866) would appear to apply to your situation since the state of Maryland does require motorist to have auto insurance. Your Louisiana insurance agent should be able to give you more information or the LA insurance regulatory body. Get affordable auto insurance rate quotes here with us if this accident raises your rates with your current insurance provider.


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