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Understanding Proposition 213

san diego personal injury attorney1 in every 7 drivers are uninsured. While there are many reasons that can contribute to your uninsured status, insurance companies overlook these reasons in pursuit of protecting their financial well-being, which is one reason why having liability coverage on your auto insurance policy is important.

California law dictates that every driver must have liability insurance on their vehicle. Additionally, if you were a victim of a person’s negligence in an auto accident, but you are uninsured, Proposition 213 deems you unable to collect general damages for things like pain and suffering.

Proposition 213, or “prop 213”, is a law which was adopted in California in November of 1996, and is now codified as California Civil Codes 3333.3 and 3333.4. The proposition was adopted as a way to minimize the amount of people who collect insurance money that do not contribute to the insurance pool. The proposition also retired a person’s ability to collect general damages who was engaged in a felony, fleeing from a crime, or intoxicated at the time of the collision, and who was convicted of these crimes.

CVC 3333.3 and CVC 3333.4 state that general damages cannot be collected if:

(1) The injured person at the time of the accident was operating the vehicle while driving while intoxicated and was convicted of this offense.

(2) The injured person was the owner of the vehicle, and the vehicle was uninsured

(3) The injured person was the operator of a vehicle involved in the accident and the operator cannot establish his or her financial responsibility

(4) The injured person was involved in a felony, or fleeing from a felony crime, and they had thereafter been convicted of that felony

However, there are exceptions to these rules:

  1. Proposition 213 cannot bar a person from collecting economic damages, i.e. property damage, medical bills, and lost wages that were a product of the collision.
  2. If the plaintiff was uninsured, but was injured by a motorist who was operating their vehicle while intoxicated, and who was convicted of this offence, then the uninsured motorist can collect for general damages.
  3. The superior court case Goodson v. Perfect Fit Enterprises argued that a driver whose liability insurance covers them while driving a vehicle should be able to collect general damages despite that vehicle being uninsured. The case ruled in the favor of the Goodson’s, awarding them the damages.
  4. The superior court case Hodges v. Superior Court argued that an uninsured driver who suffered injuries as a result of the negligent production of a product should be awarded for general damages. The court rules in Hodges favor despite his uninsured status.
  5. Horwich v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County established that plaintiffs can collect damages for a wrongful death, despite the deceased’s insurance status, as they argued the law only “applied to the uninsured owner or operator of the automobile involved in an accident.”
  6. Vargas v. Athena Assurance Company argued for the right to seek damages for pain and suffering in spite of Vargas’ uninsured status, as he was operating his vehicle as an agent of his employer, and his employers auto insurance covered anyone operating a vehicle under their employment.
  7. The superior court case Day v. City of Fontana ruled in favor of the uninsured plaintiff, with the fault being placed on the city for dangerous property conditions.

Although proposition 213 is not a rigid law, obtaining liability insurance can be vital to protecting your personal injury case. Our personal injury lawyers at Acclaim Law Group will explain your rights and work with you to ensure you are cared for. To learn more about car accidents that were the result of someone’s negligence, or to get answers to any other questions and set up a free consultation, call Brett Geruntino, Esq., at (858) 252-0781.

Disclaimer: While we always seek to establish accuracy when publishing articles, this piece is not intended to provide legal advice, and should not be used as such. Each individual case will differ and should be discussed with an attorney or legal expert. If you would like to inquire about pursuing a claim, please contact us at (858) 252-0781 or email brett@acclaimlaw.com

 

References:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV&sectionNum=3333.4.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=3333.3.&lawCode=CIV

http://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/IRC%20UM_NewsRelease_1.pdf

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