On October 11, 2013, the State of Missouri and its elected government officials enacted a No Play, No Pay statute (RSMo 303.390) specifically designed to increase insurance company profits at the expense of the economically depressed. It also takes a direct shot at the jury system as we know it and the Seventh Amendment. Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the law, but it was overridden by the Legislature.
What is the No Pay, No Play Law? Simply put:
- If you are hurt in a car crash that is not your fault, and
- You do not have any auto insurance coverage that applies to you within the last 6 months of the crash, then;
- Your pain, suffering, inconvenience, permanent injury, loss of enjoyment of life, and burden on loved ones are worthless.
- The insurance company representing the person causing the crash is only responsible for your medical bills. No pain. No suffering. No inconvenience. No nothing. Bills only.
If you have health insurance but no auto insurance, that is the jackpot freebie for the responsible party’s insurance carrier. They will pay you almost nothing.
That’s it. That is exactly what this law says. It places a burden on the injured party who has not done anything to cause the crash. And one other thing, if you are thinking about taking your case to trial, this law says the jury will not be informed of the No Play No Pay statute. Meaning, your attorney cannot tell the jury the law only allows you to recover medical bills. Somehow, some way, the members of the House and Senate thought this was in the realm of the Missouri Constitution, regardless of what the Seventh Amendment says. Quite frankly, I don’t know how many of them even know what the Seventh Amendment says. That is not an exaggeration or hyperbole.
Some say the purpose behind the law is to force people to buy auto insurance. Minimum liability coverage is required in the state of Missouri. A person owning a car must have the minimum limits of coverage as required by law. This protects all drivers who use the roads. However, RSMo 303.390 limits who is protected on the roads. If you are uninsured, you are not protected.
Take this example: A person has no auto insurance. It lapsed one year ago. They are driving their own car when they see someone in distress. They stop and rush the person to the hospital. On the way, they are blindsided by a teenager driving an SUV, who ran a red light and was texting on his or her phone. Result: the insurance company only pays what you owe the doctors. Not a penny more. No matter the permanent pain you have. No matter the inconvenience to your life forever.
If you are one of the poorer citizens of Missouri who is forced to choose between heating your home this winter or having insurance on your vehicle, know this: auto insurers don’t care how warm your home is—you MUST buy their product or suffer the consequences. Pay them to Ppay the insurance game.
The truth is that minimum financial requirement for motor vehicles should be required. But penalizing a party for being the victim is just plain wrong. This law is designed to keep money from deserving and injured parties unless you pay for it. Who are our lawmakers really trying to protect? Individuals or billion dollar corporations?