Uninsured motorists bill advances in Missouri

| 5/13/2005

A Missouri bill that would limit uninsured motorists’ right to sue has passed a state Senate panel.

The Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industrial Relations Committee voted in favor of a bill May 5 that would prohibit uninsured motorists who get hit by other drivers from suing for pain and suffering damages.

The bill, which has already passed the House, now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

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.