Missouri Legislature Overrides the Veto of No Pay No Play Legislation Limiting Uninsured Motorists’ Noneconomic Damages

The Missouri legislature recently passed a law that limits an uninsured driver from recovering noneconomic damages against an insured driver.

Section 303.360, RSMo. requires an uninsured motorist to waive the ability to have a cause of action or otherwise collect noneconomic damages against a person who is in compliance with the financial responsibility laws due to a motor vehicle accident in which the insured driver is alleged to be at fault.  “An uninsured motorist” is deemed to include:  (1) an uninsured motorist who is the owner of the vehicle; (2) an uninsured permissive driver of the vehicle; and (3) any uninsured non permissive driver.”

The statute states that the waiver will not apply if it can be proven that the accident was caused, in whole or in part, by a tortfeasor who operated a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or who is convicted of involuntary manslaughter or assault in the second degree.  We interpret this exemption of the waiver to apply to situations where someone other than the uninsured driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

The statute also states the waiver does not apply to an uninsured motorist whose immediate prior insurance policy was terminated or nonrenewed for failure to pay premiums, unless the termination or nonrenewal for failure to pay premiums was provided by such insurer at least six months prior to the accident.

The remainder of the statute states that the trier of fact will not be informed of the waiver’s effect on the total recovery and any award in favor of the uninsured motorist will be reduced by an amount equal to the portion of the award representing compensation for noneconomic losses.  Nothing in the statute prevents an uninsured motorist to recover his or her economic losses.  Passengers in the uninsured motor vehicle are not subject to the waiver.

Section 303.390 was passed on a veto override.  We anticipate the plaintiff bar will contest its constitutionality in limiting the types of damages that can be recovered.  The impact of this statute will be limited to those situations where an uninsured motorist brings a lawsuit against an insured driver.  The uninsured motorist’s recovery will be limited to economic damages such as medical specials, wage loss, vehicle damage and loss of use.  The uninsured motorist will not be able to recover pain and suffering.

If you have any further questions regarding the statute, please do not hesitate to give me a call, 314-421-1850, or send me an email, tperryman@robertsperryman.com

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