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I was hurt in a car crash, but I do not have car insurance – now what?

If you have been involved in a car crash caused by the negligence of another person, typically you have the right to pursue a claim and/or lawsuit against that individual for all damages you sustained that were caused or contributed to be caused by the crash.

However, if you were operating your vehicle without car insurance at the time of the accident, the insurance company may try to argue that you are only entitled to “economic damages” as opposed to both “economic” and “non-economic” damages.  This is often referred to as Missouri’s “No Pay, No Play” law.

Missouri’s “No Pay, No Play” law (RSMo. section 303.390) states in part that “An uninsured motorist shall waive the ability to have a cause of action or otherwise collect for noneconomic loss against a person who is in compliance with the financial responsibility laws of this chapter due to a motor vehicle accident in which the insured driver is alleged to be at fault.”  In other words, if you fail to carry Missouri’s state mandated auto insurance requirements, your recovery may be limited when an accident is caused by another party.

Economic damage consists of items in which a monetary value can more easily be determined. These often include:

  • Past medical bills;
  • Future medical bills;
  • Past lost wages;
  • Future lost wages and
  • Property damage.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, consist of items in which it is more difficult to assign a specific monetary value. These often include:

  • Past and future pain and suffering;
  • Inconvenience;
  • Disfigurement; and
  • Other emotional distress.

To ensure you are permitted recovery of both economic and non-economic damages from the at-fault party following a crash, it’s important that you carry auto insurance yourself.  However, if you are involved in a crash and do not have auto insurance, it’s also important that you contact an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible.  There are exceptions to Missouri’s “No Pay, No Play” law and there are legal arguments that can be made to that the law is not valid.   At The A.W. Smith Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in evaluating and prosecuting auto injury claims where our client failed to carry auto insurance, and we will ensure your case is properly assessed and that you recover all damages legally available to you.