The Missouri General Assembly, by the smallest possible margin, has voted to override Governor Nixon's veto of HB339. The bill which will now be codified as R.S.Mo. Section 303.390.1, is designed to severely limit the ability of an uninsured motorist to recover damages, if that person is involved in an injury related auto accident.
By overriding the governor's veto and enacting this legislation, Missouri joins a growing number of states that have adopted what is commonly known as a "no pay, no play" statute. Pursuant to the statute, an uninsured driver's ability to recover damages for pain and suffering, after having been involved in a car accident, may be precluded, as against an insured, at fault driver. The legislation does contain some exceptions to the general rule. For example, uninsured motorists will still be allowed to recover if the other driver is found to have been driving under the influence.
Such statutes demonstrate how difficult and complicated it can be to recover compensation for personal injuries arising out of a car accident. The Montee Law Firm has been assisting individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents for decades. If you have been injured in a car accident, and would like a free consultation to explain your rights, feel free to
call or e-mail.
The full language of 303.390.1 is set forth below:
303.390. 1. 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. For purposes of this section, the term "uninsured motorist" shall include:
(1) An uninsured driver who is the owner of the vehicle;
(2) An uninsured permissive driver of the vehicle; and
(3) Any uninsured nonpermissive driver.
Such waiver shall not apply if it can be proven that the accident was caused, in whole or in part, by a tort-feasor who operated a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or who is convicted of involuntary manslaughter under subdivision (2) of subsection 1 of section 565.024, or assault in the second degree under subdivision (4) of subsection 1 of section 565.060.
2. The provisions of this section shall not apply to an uninsured motorist whose immediately previous insurance policy meeting the requirements of section 303.190 was terminated or nonrenewed for failure to pay the premium, unless notice of termination or nonrenewal for failure to pay such premium was provided by such insurer at least six months prior to the time of the accident.
3. In an action against a person who is in compliance with the financial responsibility laws prescribed by this chapter by a person deemed to have waived recovery under subsection 1 of this section:
(1) Any award in favor of such person shall be reduced by an amount equal to the portion of the award representing compensation for noneconomic losses;
(2) The trier of fact shall not be informed, directly or indirectly, of such waiver or of its effect on the total amount of such person's recovery.
4. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude recovery against an alleged tort-feasor of benefits provided or economic loss coverage.
5. Passengers in the uninsured motor vehicle are not subject to such recovery limitation.