A bill currently pending in the Ohio House of Representatives could have far-reaching implications for uninsured drivers.
House Bill 279, the Responsible Driver Protection Act, proposes to prohibit certain individuals who do not maintain statutory minimum levels of automobile insurance from collecting noneconomic (i.e., pain and suffering) damages for harm sustained in a motor vehicle accident.
In other words, if someone injures you while you are driving, but you do not maintain suitable automobile insurance, you would not be able to make a claim for pain and suffering damages.
Specific provisions of HB 279:
- Uninsured drivers may sue for economic damages such as medical costs, property damage and lost wages—but they forfeit the ability to collect noneconomic damages for failure to comply with the law.
- Exceptions would exist for accidents caused by intoxicated drivers, those fleeing the scene, those committing a felony, passengers in a vehicle driven by an uninsured driver and innocent bystanders or wrongful death claims.
Twelve other states have enacted similar “Responsible Driver Protection” laws. The bill currently is pending in the House Insurance Committee.
Proponents of HB 279 make auto insurance fair in Ohio, since under the current law, uninsured drivers get the full benefit of an insured driver’s coverage when they are involved in an accident and lawsuit, despite failing to comply with the law and participate in the system. At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., we believe that the bill could cause an undue burden on low-income and indigent drivers by making it impossible to receive compensation for pain and suffering inflicted by the fault of others. Drivers who are struggling financially, and may not carry valid insurance for any number of reasons, could be financially devastated in the wake of an accident. The pain and suffering they would endure – and the serious financial implications of that, including medical bills, rehabilitative costs, damages and lost time from work – could put them in a financial bind from which they may never recover.
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We will continue to monitor HB 279 and keep you apprised of the latest developments. In the meantime, if you, a family member or a friend has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, your rights are at stake—you need to seek immediate legal advice. At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., our motor vehicle accident attorneys may be able to help you pursue compensation for the pain and suffering that you have been forced to endure. The experienced automobile and motorcycle accident injury lawyers of NRS have handled a variety of motor vehicle injury cases over many years; we fight side by side with injured victims to make sure they and their families receive compensation for negligence that caused them to be hurt. We will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you obtain the medical care and compensation you need to rebuild your life.
In the event you or a loved one sustain a motor vehicle injury, contact the motor vehicle injury attorneys at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.