Proposition 213 California, also known as the “Personal Responsibility Act of 1996,” was a voter-approved initiative passed in the said year. It restricts the rights of uninsured drivers involved in car accidents from recovering non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, in personal injury lawsuits, regardless of fault.
In essence, if you’re driving without insurance and are in an accident, Proposition 213 limits your ability to seek certain types of compensation. However, there are exceptions and nuances to consider, so one must consult with legal experts for specific advice.
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Prop 213 California and Uninsured Motorists
Under California law, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance to cover any damages they may cause in an accident. Unfortunately, not everyone abides by this law, leaving many uninsured motorists on the road.
If you’re a responsible driver who pays for car insurance, Proposition 213 may be of little concern to you. However, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, it becomes highly relevant.
How Does Proposition 213 Affect Uninsured Drivers?
If you are driving without insurance and get into a car accident in California, Prop 213 limits your ability to collect non-economic damages from the other driver. This means that even if the other driver was at fault for the accident, you cannot seek compensation for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
This law was enacted in 1996 with the intent to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road and protect insurance companies from paying out large sums for non-economic damages. While it may seem unfair to those who are injured by uninsured drivers, there is a rationale behind this law.
By limiting the ability to collect non-economic damages, Proposition 213 aims to incentivize responsible driving and prompt individuals to obtain car insurance. It also helps keep insurance rates lower for those who do have coverage since insurance companies are not forced to pay out as much in claims.
However, this does not mean that uninsured motorists cannot seek any compensation at all. They can still recover economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage from the at-fault driver.
Proposition 213 and Passengers of Uninsured Drivers
In most cases, passengers are not at fault for the accident and may suffer injuries as a result. Prior to this law, passengers could seek compensation from both the uninsured driver’s insurance company and their own insurance company.
However, under Prop 213, passengers of uninsured drivers are limited to only seeking economic damages from the at-fault driver. This means they cannot receive any non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.
California Proposition 213 Exceptions
There are some exceptions to Proposition 213 that allow individuals injured by an uninsured driver to recover non-economic damages. What is Prop 213 and when does it NOT apply?:
- Being injured while on the job – if you were working at the time of the accident, you can still seek non-economic damages from the at-fault driver.
- Being a passenger in a commercial vehicle – if you were a passenger in a commercial vehicle that was involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may be able to recover non-economic damages.
- Driving your own uninsured vehicle – if you were driving your own uninsured vehicle and were injured by another uninsured driver, you can still seek non-economic damages.
- Intentional misconduct or DUI – if the at-fault driver was found to be intentionally causing harm or driving under the influence, passengers can still seek non-economic damages.
- Out-of-state accidents – Proposition 213 only applies to accidents that occur in California. If you were injured by an uninsured driver in another state, you may still be able to seek non-economic damages.
Does Proposition 213 Apply to DUI or Drunk Driver Cases?
Yes, it does. If an uninsured driver causes an accident while under the influence, they may be held responsible for non-economic damages under Prop 213. This includes any additional pain and suffering or emotional distress caused by the accident. It is important to note that even if the at-fault driver has insurance, if they were driving under the influence at the time of the accident, it may still apply and limit their ability to recover non-economic damages.
Does Proposition 213 in California Apply to Minors?
No, it does not. Prop 213 only applies to adults over the age of 18. However, if a minor is injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, they may be able to seek non-economic damages through their parent’s insurance coverage or other legal avenues.
Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
What to Do After Being Injured in a Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience, but it becomes even more frustrating when the at-fault driver is uninsured. In the state of California, it is estimated that nearly 15% of drivers on the road are uninsured, making it one of the highest rates in the country. If you have been hit by an uninsured driver, here’s what you should do:
- Seek Medical Attention: The first and most important step after any car accident is to seek medical attention for yourself and anyone else who may be injured. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been seriously hurt, it’s important to get checked out as some injuries may not manifest until later.
- File a Police Report: It’s important to file a police report (and fill up an SR-1 form) even if the at-fault driver is uninsured. This will create an official record of the incident, which may be useful for insurance claims or legal proceedings.
- Gather Evidence: If possible, gather evidence from the scene such as photos, witness statements, and any other information that can support your claim.
- Call Your Attorney: It’s always a good idea to consult with a lawyer after a vehicle accident, especially if there are injuries involved. They can provide legal advice and help protect your rights. Your car accident attorney can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure that you receive the compensation due you.
Recover Damages After a Motor Vehicle Accident.
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In the midst of dealing with injuries and damages after an auto accident, it can be difficult to know what steps to take next. That’s where RTM Law comes in. As your trusted legal advisors, we are here to guide you through the process of recovering damages after a motor vehicle accident, especially if there are injuries involved. Our experienced attorneys will fight to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Whether it’s a car, truck, motorcycle, or other type of motor vehicle accident, our team at RTM Law has the knowledge and expertise to handle your case. A Prop 213 accident law attorney from our firm can work with you to assess the damages and determine the best course of action.
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