California is becoming more and more strict when it comes to carrying insurance in their state. This is due to the fact that many more people are becoming injured in car accidents each year and are found to not be carrying any type of insurance at the time. California law has made it a requirement, under the California Financial Responsibility Act, that all drivers have valid automobile liability insurance with few alternatives. They have made it so that people operating without liability insurance are found to be driving illegally. This is because too many people have had to pay for the mess that uninsured drivers leave in their wake. (1)
Where Proposition 213 Comes Into Play
Because of increasing numbers of drivers driving without insurance, California state legislature took matters into their own hands and passed something known as Proposition 213. This means that, if you were involved in a collision that wasn’t your fault but you were driving without car insurance, you will be barred from receiving the full value of your claim since you were uninsured. This gives drivers something very important to think about, because if they had been insured at the time of the accident, they could have brought a successful claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company and received their rightful damages.
People in California are expected to carry liability insurance, which will take care of the costs of injuries and property damage involved in an accident. This is due to the simple fact that, in the most serious of accidents, these damages are well out of the average person’s budget. Liability insurance coverage is put in place as a type of protection. It includes bodily injury coverage, which pays for injuries suffered by others in an accident that you caused, and property damage coverage, which pays for damage you cause to another person’s property in an accident. (2)
A little history on Proposition 213: It came into play on November 5th, 1996. Even in cases where you believe yourself to be an innocent victim, if you do not have any type of car insurance, you will not collect for your full damages. Prop 213 received 7,278,167 votes, which meant that 76.83% of the people voted toward it. (3)
How This Affects You
This affects you because, due to Prop 213, if you were driving uninsured you will not be able to collect general damages. Special damages are economic injuries that were suffered due to the accident, which consists of medical costs and loss of earnings from missing work. General damages are a bit different and refer to non-economic losses such as pain and suffering. These could be a huge part of your settlement and could be of utmost importance.
Why does this matter? Well, if you make a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, special damages may be a huge part of it. However, if you were driving without insurance, the insurance company and courts are going to take this into consideration and see it as negligent. This means that you will more than likely not be able to recover general damages such as pain and suffering.
How Extreme Negligence Makes the Difference
Under California Civil Code Section 3333.3, the Prop states, “In any action for damages based on negligence, a person may not recover any damages if the plaintiff’s injuries were in any way proximately caused by the plaintiff’s commission of any felony, or immediate flight therefrom, and the plaintiff has been duly convicted of that felony.” This usually refers to the fact that the at-fault driver was determined to be under the influence of alcohol. Even if you were uninsured, if this determination is made, you can still collect general damages. Prop 213 may also not apply if you were operating your employer’s vehicle and it was uninsured, if you were a passenger in a car and it was being driven without insurance, or a person was acting outright negligently and breaking the law when the accident occurred. (4)
What happens if you were involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and received injuries due to this accident? Cases involving Proposition 213 can be extremely complex, which is why it is a good idea to have an attorney on your side. We have experience with these cases and can help answer your burning questions. Call us today for more information on how we can help you every step of the way.