If you were injured in an auto accident in the state of California, your claim for damages may be limited depending on whether there was insurance covering the vehicle you were driving. California’s Proposition 213, also known as Prop 213, prevents an uninsured driver from being compensated for their pain and suffering by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, there are exceptions to Prop 213. And even if an exception doesn’t apply, that still doesn’t mean you don’t have a claim.
If you have recently been involved in an accident but were uninsured, you may still be entitled to compensation. Contact an Orange County Proposition 213 accident attorney at the Crockett Law Group to learn about how we can help you maximize your settlement. Call (800) 900-9393 for a free consultation with an Orange County car accident lawyer.
What Is Proposition 213?
The insurance industry pushed for Proposition 213 in 1996 in order to reduce the amount of money they would have to pay out in claims. Proposition 213 prevents a driver who is injured in an auto accident from making a claim for non-economic damages against an at-fault driver if they drove a vehicle that was not covered by insurance.
What Compensation Is Affected By Proposition 213?
An uninsured driver who is subject to Proposition 213 can seek reimbursement for economic damages, but not for non-economic damages. In other words, they can still be compensated for their medical bills, loss of earnings, and out-of-pocket expenses, but not for their pain and suffering.
According to California Civil Jury Instruction No. 3905A, non-economic damages include physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress. Prop 213 prevents you from obtaining compensation for any of those things.
Who Is Affected By Proposition 213?
Whether you were affected by Proposition 213 or not depends on the following:
- If you drove a vehicle that was insured at the time of the accident, you won’t be affected by Proposition 213.
- If you weren’t insured and drove a vehicle that wasn’t insured at the time of the accident, you may be affected by Proposition 213.
- If you drove a vehicle that you owned but failed to insure at the time of the accident, you may be affected by Proposition 213.
- If you were a passenger in a vehicle that wasn’t insured at the time of the accident, you won’t be affected by Proposition 213 unless you were the spouse of the uninsured driver. If one spouse purchased a vehicle and failed to insure it, the other spouse who is a passenger at the time of the accident may also be considered an owner of the vehicle under California’s community property laws. In that case, both spouses would be subject to Proposition 213 as well. In order for the passenger spouse to avoid Proposition 213, they would have to show that they didn’t have personal knowledge that the car was uninsured. Ieremia v. Hilmar Unified School District (2008) 166 Cal. App. 4th 324.
- If you were insured and didn’t cause the accident, but you were convicted of driving under the influence at the time the accident occurred, you may be affected by Proposition 213.
Are There Exceptions to Proposition 213?
There are a number of circumstances where you might be able to avoid the consequences of Proposition 213, such as the following:
If you drive an uninsured vehicle, but you’re not the registered owner and you have insurance on a vehicle that you own, then you’re exempt from Proposition 213.
If you’re uninsured and driving a vehicle that is uninsured, but the accident takes place on private property, then you’re exempt from Proposition 213. Parking lots are private property, for example.
Employer Owned Vehicles
If you’re uninsured and driving a vehicle that is uninsured, but the vehicle is owned by your employer, then you’re exempt from Proposition 213.
If the at-fault driver caused the accident as a result of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then you’re exempt from Proposition 213.
If a family member of the deceased uninsured driver is pursuing a wrongful death claim, then Proposition 213 does not apply.
If the facts of the accident are extreme enough, it may be possible to collect punitive damages against the at-fault driver in order to punish their behavior. Although you’re still subject to Prop 213, at least you’re making up what you lost from pain and suffering in punitive damages.
Should I Pursue a Personal Injury Case If I Was Not Insured?
If you weren’t at fault for the accident, then yes, you should still pursue a personal injury case even if you weren’t insured and Proposition 213 applies to you. Uninsured or not, you still deserve to have your lost wages reimbursed and your medical bills paid for.
Crockett Law Group – Orange County Proposition 213 Accident Attorneys
If you’re subject to Proposition 213 because you were uninsured at the time of an accident, you’re not alone. It is estimated that about one in eight drivers nationwide are uninsured according to the Insurance Research Council. In California and Orange County, in particular, the number of uninsured drivers may be higher due to affordability and the high costs of living here.
There are all sorts of other reasons that you might have been uninsured at the time of the accident. Perhaps you just bought a new car and got into an accident before you had a chance to insure it; perhaps you were in the process of changing insurance companies, or perhaps your insurance lapsed because you accidentally missed a payment. Whatever the case may be, you still have a right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. It’s important that you contact an experienced attorney that will leave no stone unturned in helping you collect money.
As Orange County Proposition 213 accident attorneys, we regularly represent the interests of victims who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. Crockett Law Group is committed to handling your injury claim from start to finish and will fight to make sure that you receive the money you deserve. If you’ve been injured as a result of an accident but were uninsured at the time it happened, contact the Crockett Law Group to speak with one of our Orange County personal injury attorneys at (800) 900-9393.