Although driving without insurance is not uncommon across the United States, it is illegal in California. In addition to this prohibition, a different statute known as Proposition 213 impacts uninsured drivers in the state. According to data compiled in 2019, California ranked among the top ten states with the highest density of uninsured motorists at 16.6%.
One piece of legislation stands out in California’s extensive collection of insurance regulations unique to the state. Proposition 213, or “The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996,” in broad strokes, was intended to prevent uninsured drivers from being compensated for non-economic damages such as bodily pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, grief, and emotional distress.
The initiative, which received 7,278,167 votes in favor of it during California’s general election on November 5, 1996, made it illegal for uninsured drivers to continue claiming non-economic damages up to the present.
If you are a frequent driver on California’s highways, it is essential to be aware of the rules that may affect your case if you are involved in a car accident. With that being said, take this article as your foolproof guide to navigating the ins and outs of financial responsibility laws, specifically Prop 213 California.
What is Proposition 213?
To fully understand what Proposition 213 intends to achieve, we must first examine what California laws require for insurance coverage in traffic rules and regulations.
Driving without evidence of financial responsibility, referring to insurance coverage, is an infraction. Financial responsibility laws state that it is punishable by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $200 for the first offense, and not less than $200 and not more than $500 for a subsequent conviction within three years. This legal action is according to the California Vehicle Code.
Despite adopting the restrictions mentioned above, drivers taking to the road without proof of financial responsibility are common throughout the state. Prop 213 California essentially attempts to prevent lawbreakers and negligent drivers from benefiting from a system that appears to reward those who fail to accept crucial personal responsibility and prevent them from pursuing excessive damages or suing law-abiding persons.
In summary, Proposition 213 California restricts the number of actual damages recoverable by uninsured drivers by denying noneconomic damages claims.
History of Prop 213 California
Prop 213 California was an initiative presented in the November 5, 1996 State General Election, limiting the rights of uninsured motorists, intoxicated drivers, and felons to sue and recover damages from law-abiding citizens.
Before the implementation of this policy of liability, every individual involved in an automobile accident could recover economic and non-economic losses.
The initiative received widespread support from different sectors in response to skyrocketing insurance costs and the high number of drunk drivers and drivers who don’t bother securing insurance coverage, automotive insurance, and similar legal liability coverages. Organizations that are vocal in their support of the rule include Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the California Police Chiefs Association, and the California Association of Highway Patrolman.
If a driver was not insured as required by the state’s financial responsibility requirements when the policy went into effect, the driver could not engage in noneconomic damage recovery. These non-economic losses include pain and suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, deformity, and other non-monetary personal injury claims resulting from an automobile accident.
Prop 213 Exceptions
As with most laws, Proposition 213 is not without exceptions. There are a handful of cases where Prop 213 California is not applicable for liability insurance coverage. Some Prop 213 exceptions include the following scenarios:
- Drivers of company vehicles are not covered by Prop 213 California when their employers fail to obtain auto liability insurance for company-owned vehicles.
- Passengers of uninsured vehicles will not be liable for Prop 213 as long as they are not the vehicle owner.
- Motorists who get into accidents involving drunk drivers are not exempted by Prop 213.
- The innocent spouse of the uninsured driver who did not know their spouse’s failure to secure insurance coverage may still recover noneconomic damages for loss.
- Vehicular accidents on private property are not covered by Prop 213 California.
- Drivers with automobile insurance coverage who borrow uninsured cars will not be held liable under Prop 213.
Consult an experienced car accident attorney to determine whether Prop 213 applies to your case or if you want to know about all other Prop 213 exceptions. To make your search for an auto accident injury lawyer easier, look no further than the 2022 Best Law Firm in California for your best possible legal resource for all matters concerning Proposition 213. Get in touch with our team at Farahi Law Firm for a free consultation.
Injured in an Accident? How Prop 213 Affects Your Case
You might be wondering how the law would affect you if you ever get into an automobile accident in California despite the fact that Proposition 213 has all the bases covered.
You cannot be compensated for non-economic damages if you don’t have insurance coverage when an accident occurs. You are only entitled to compensation for actual economic losses, including but not limited to out-of-pocket costs, medical expenses, missed wages, property repairs, travel costs, and legal fees.
As mentioned above, Prop 213 California was designed to discourage lawbreakers and protect law-abiding, innocent people. Therefore, you might consider applying for insurance protection. Additionally, after obtaining insurance coverage, you should always have identification showing your financial stability on you when driving.
What You Should Do if You Are Injured in California
Should you ever find yourself in a motor vehicle accident, you should waste no time enlisting the services of the most experienced attorneys in the state.
Specializing in personal injuries and with years of experience handling accident lawsuits, our personal injury lawyers can guide you through the moment of the accident to the settlement of your case. We can also give you practical and comprehensive pointers on what you should do after any car accident.
Have Farahi Law Firm on speed dial on your phone so you can rest assured that you are protected should the unfortunate happen.
What a California Personal Injury Attorney Can Do for You
Possessing expert knowledge of personal injury cases and all pertinent laws and precedents, a personal injury lawyer can help you maximize your chance even when you are an uninsured driver covered by Proposition 213.
Contact Farahi Law Firm today and find outstanding accident representation that understands the degree and consequences of Prop 213 California, and how you can use it to your advantage.
Farahi Law Firm is an award-winning and well-reviewed team of experienced car accident lawyers that offers free case evaluations and guarantees no fees unless your case wins.
Call us at (844) 824-2955 for your free, no obligations case review. We are available 24/7 to take your call.