The Oklahoma Legislature has proposed a new bill which would limit the amount and types of damages uninsured motorists could recover for accidents which are not their fault. In an apparent attempt to discourage Oklahoma citizens from driving without insurance, the Legislature wants to limit the recoverable damages to medical costs, property damage and lost income. In other words, if you are in an accident that it not your fault, and you don’t have insurance, the bill would prevent you from getting money for pain and suffering:
HB3380 limits damages to uninsured motorists:
"Except as provided in subsection B of this section, in any civil action to recover damages arising out of an accident involving the operation of a motor vehicle or for any claim against the motor vehicle liability insurance coverage of another party, the maximum amount that a plaintiff or claimant may receive, if the plaintiff or claimant is not in compliance with the Compulsory Insurance Law, shall be limited to the amount of medical costs, property damage, and lost income and shall not include any award for pain and suffering."
The bill makes exceptions for those who are passengers (if they are not owners of the uninsured vehicle); those injured by drunk drivers or drivers who are committing felonies; and wrongful death claims.
Since Oklahoma is not a "no fault" state, it is unclear how such a law will encourage its poor citizens to buy insurance. Furthermore, Oklahoma law does not permit a someone who commits a wrong against another to benefit from his victim’s insurance. If the bill passes, it is likely to meet a constitutional challenge.