Missouri bill takes aim at uninsured motorists

| 4/29/2005

The Missouri House has approved a bill that would limit uninsured motorists’ right to sue.

Lawmakers voted 106-46 April 20 to advance a bill to the state Senate that would prohibit uninsured motorists who get hit by other drivers from suing for pain and suffering damages.

Sponsored by Rep. Brian Yates, R-Lee’s Summit, the measure is intended to provide an incentive for irresponsible motorists to ante up for insurance and prevent them from getting a windfall by suing insured drivers.

Missouri residents who get behind the wheel without insurance cost insured drivers as much as $90 million a year in increase premiums, The Kansas City Star reported.

Yates’ effort would waive uninsured motorists rights to sue for noneconomic – pain and suffering – damages. The uninsured driver would retain the right to sue for economic damages, such as medical costs, damage to a vehicle and attorneys’ fees.

The bill – HB417 – would not apply to drivers whose insurance is dropped for nonpayment and who have not received 30 days’ notice of the policy’s cancellation.