When Kansas passed its recent No Pay No Play statute, it framed the decision as a way to curb uninsured driving.
As a car accident attorney in Kansas City, I see the need. Tons of drivers hit the road every day without insurance. If they crash into someone and can't cover the cost of that person's injuries, it's a huge problem for the victim and for area medical providers.
At first, the idea sounds perfect: No Pay, No Play only affects uninsured drivers, and uninsured driving is illegal in Kansas already. So it prevents people from receiving compensation for pain and suffering when they were committing a crime in the first place by not having insurance.
However, that's just not the way justice works.
If you sell drugs and are murdered in the middle of a drug deal, is that not still murder? Should a person who gets robbed while jaywalking not be able to press charges because they were violating traffic laws when it happened?
Of course not. You don't blame the victim when a crime is committed against them - you blame the person responsible.
No Pay, No Play does blame the victim, though:
Let's say an unemployed grandmother of 3 is on her way to a job interview. She's been uninsured for a few months because she can't afford it. On her way to the interview, a drunk driver charges through a red light in the middle of the day and smashes her car into oncoming traffic. She's paralyzed for life.
Now, that driver was breaking the law. He drove drunk. He ran a red light. He nearly killed someone. But when this woman - whose life and family will forever be altered - decides to seek justice, it's her insurance status that will determine how much he pays.
Under the current law, this scenario is a real possibility.
It's important to encourage driving with proper insurance, and to enforce the law whenever possible. But to punish a driver by denying them their rights when someone else injures them is victim-blaming - not justice.
If you're uninsured but have been injured in a car accident, our attorneys can help. The No Pay, No Play statute only affects part of your case, not all.
Contact us today to speak with a Kansas City car accident lawyer who's sympathetic to your situation and who will fight for the compensation you deserve.