Crashed front end of a car

If you get into an auto accident as an uninsured driver in California, your options to recover compensation are limited by California Proposition 213, also known as the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996. This law governs auto accidents involving uninsured motorists and their ability to recover compensation. 

Understanding California’s Proposition 213 can help you make informed decisions on how to recover compensation in accidents that involve an uninsured driver in California. While this law does provide some protection for uninsured drivers, you may still need the legal guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney to recover compensation. 

Overview of California Proposition 213 

The insurance industry in California spent millions to help pass the California Proposition 213 in 1996. The insurance companies claimed that uninsured motorists caused the overall insurance costs to rise for all other drivers, and therefore supported California Proposition 213.  

While California law requires all motorists to carry auto insurance, a high number of drivers do not comply with this requirement and continue to drive uninsured. California Proposition 213 encourages people to carry auto insurance as the law restricts compensatory damages. For example, the uninsured driver is not eligible to recover compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. The law also restricts recovery on other types of damages, including punitive damages. 

The Types of Accidents and Injuries Covered by Proposition 213

Proposition 213 in California applies to all types of motor accidents, including accidents that involve trucks, cars, bicycles, or pedestrians. As California Proposition 213 addresses non-economic damages, the uninsured driver can recover compensation for physical injuries and other economic expenses such as lost income and medical bills. However, under Proposition 213, uninsured motorists are not eligible to recover compensation for mental trauma, anxiety, depression, and other non-economic expenses. 

The Effects of Proposition 213 On Uninsured Drivers

Proposition 213 has had a major impact on the rights and responsibilities of California drivers. The primary objective of the law has been to encourage California motorists to carry auto insurance. Drivers who carry auto insurance are offered significantly greater compensatory damages in the form of non-economic expenses. This ensures a more equitable system where the more responsible motorists who carry auto insurance don’t have to bear the burden of increasing cost of auto insurance due to uninsured drivers. 

As an increasing number of people realize the importance of mental health, recovery of non-economic expenses has become a more important objective. As a result, there is a greater incentive for drivers to comply with California Prop 213. 

The impact of California Prop 213 goes beyond restricting recovery options for uninsured drivers. It also helps increase overall road safety and reduce the financial risk for insured motorists. It also promotes a culture of accountability and responsibility among California drivers. 

The Exceptions and Exemptions Under Prop 213

Uninsured drivers might feel that the limitations placed on compensation for non-economic damages are a bit harsh. However, some exceptions under California Prop 213 may allow uninsured drivers to recover compensation. 

One of the most common exceptions to this rule is that injured passengers in an auto accident can recover compensation regardless of the insurance stats of the vehicle or driver involved in the crash.

Another exception is if an accident is caused by an intoxicated driver. Those who are lawfully occupying another person’s uninsured vehicle are also expected from this proposition.  

These exceptions and exemptions under Propp 213 might be challenging to navigate, so it is best to involve an attorney in the process.

The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney to Navigate Prop 213

The limitations placed on compensation for non-economic damages make California Prop 213 cases challenging to navigate. However, a skilled and experienced attorney on your side can help simplify the process. They can assess your case and guide you on your best legal options based on their in-depth understanding of California laws and experience in such cases. 

While the goal of Prop 213 is to deter uninsured driving, it can impact the ability of individuals seeking compensation for their injuries. If you find yourself in such a situation, consult with an attorney to determine the best legal course of action to recover compensation. 
An attorney can also guide you on any applicable exceptions under California Proposition 213 that apply to your case. Contact Maho Prentice LLP for more information on how California Proposition 213 applies to your case.

By otmseo on March 4, 2024