No recovery if no auto insurance?
We have an MVA where our clients were significantly injured but had recently let their auto insurance lapse due to nonpayment. Isn't there new legislation that says they can't recover since they did not have auto insurance at the time of the MVA?
Answer: What you are describing is 47 O.S. Sec. 7-116, commonly referred to as the "no pay, no play" statute. It does purport to limit recovery for anyone not in compliance with the compulsory insurance law to special damages (medical bills, property damage, lost earnings, etc.). There are some exceptions for where the tort-feasor is DUI and some probably inapplicable exceptions for where the insurance company screwed up the effort to terminate the coverage.
That said, the statute is highly likely to be held unconstitutional as in violation of the access to justice or open courts clause of the Oklahoma Constitution, Article 2, § 6:
"The courts of justice of the State shall be open to every person, and speedy and certain remedy afforded for every wrong and for every injury to person, property, or reputation; and right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, delay, or prejudice."
It would also appear to be likely to violate the excessive fines provision of Article 2, § 9:
"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted."
The argument would be that the statute taking away all damages except economic losses allows a "fine" up to the $350,000 limit contemplated by 23 O.S. § 61.2.
I would sure hate to see you abandon a case or take specials only in the face of all that.
Posted on Mon, December 10, 2012
by Travis Law Office filed under