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Uninsured Injured Drivers are Barred from Collecting All Damages

ambulance fireman burnt car

A new law goes into effect in October, 2013, that will not allow motorists who are hurt in a car wreck to recover anything more than their medical bills and lost wages.  The law is codified in Section 303.390 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. Under this new law, the government has dictated that if you are not covered by automobile insurance, and you are driving a vehicle that is involved in an accident that is not your fault, a jury can only award you money in the amount of your medical bills and lost wages. You will be barred from seeking full payment of all damages including pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, and other “non-economic damages.”  For a lot of Missourians and injured people that already have problems paying their medical bills, this is a significant problem. This type of law will increase the need for governmental assistance such as the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) or state-run Medicaid, which is exactly what the Missouri legislature has fought against for years. Beyond that issue, this new law presents problems for parents, people who don’t own cars but take public transportation regularly, and anyone driving another person’s vehicle in an emergency situation. If your child is not covered by a policy of insurance and is injured driving an uninsured vehicle, your child is out of luck to be made whole and recover the full amount of damages previously available.  If you do not own a vehicle because you take public transportation, and are therefore not covered under a policy of insurance, and you drive an intoxicated friend home from the bar when a negligent driver hits you, an insurance company will not offer to pay anything other than your medical bills and lost wages.  If you are uninsured, but you drive someone else’s uninsured vehicle during an emergency situation and are struck by a negligent driver, you will not receive any compensation for your pain, suffering, disfigurement, scarring, or other harms that are not accounted for in mere lost wages and medical bills. There are some situations where this new law may not apply, and there is an outstanding question the legislature did not address about whether this law violates the Missouri Constitution. So, if you are uninsured, and you are involved in a car wreck, tractor-trailor wreck, or any other kind of wreck, you should contact an attorney immediately to see what your options are.