There’s a unique law in a state of America called The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996, or commonly referred to as Proposition 213, that will, in part, deprive you of receiving compensation if you do not have insurance on the car. Passing with 76.83% of the vote, it intended to limit certain tort damages to certain felons (ex: hit and run drivers), uninsured motorists, and DUI/DWI drivers.
“In 1996, California voters passed Prop. 213, the “no pay, no play” initiative. Under this law, uninsured drivers can not receive pain and suffering damages for injuries suffered in an auto accident caused by an insured driver; they can only receive actual damages, such as medical bills and lost wages.” (Source).
It is a punishment passed by California voters. The general consensus is reckless or negligent drivers should not be able to obtain pain and suffering damages. But what if you did no wrong and the accident was the other driver’s fault?
Prop 213 still stands. While this might seem unfair or unjust, it is the law. There have been a few attempts to overturn the law with no success. But wait, there are a few things that you can do to work around this unfortunate law, which was mostly created to benefit insurance companies and hurt trial lawyers.
Before the passage of Prop 213, officially known as “The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996,” consumer watchdog Harvey Rosenfield and “Consumer Action,” led the fight to enact Proposition 103, which rolled back outrageously expensive auto insurance rates, leading to a sequential analysis rate-setting process.
As a result, the insurance industry worked hand in hand with its commercialized, corporate friends to take away consumer rights, and bring in more insurance money such as:
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the California Police Chiefs Association, California Association of Highway Patrolman, Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau, California Peace Officers’ Association, Peace Officers Research Association of California, and the Association for California Tort Reform among others. (Source).
Most of all, Prop 213 was opposed by the founders of the Proposition 103 Enforcement Project discussed above. Also opposing Prop 213 were the California Trial Lawyers Association, along with “United Policyholders.“
Several years after its passage, in 1998, the insurance industry’s surrogate, California Insurance Commissioner Quackenbush accepted Mercury Insurance’s claim that $71 million in insurance prices were reduced due to 213 as fact. (Mercury Insurance Company is considered by many to be among the most dishonest and unfair auto insurers).
But it appeared that Mercury had reduced its motor vehicle insurance rates by “20% for uninsured motorist coverage and 15% for bodily injury coverage.” However, most jurists feel it was the pro-consumer Prop 103 and not pro insurance industry Prop 213 that made this happen.
Remarkably, the codification of California’s Proposition 213 is not found in the California Vehicle Code.
Instead, it is classified under Civil Code Section 3333.4 et seq., as follows:
3333.4. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), in any action to recover damages arising out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle, a person shall not recover non-economic losses to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other nonpecuniary damages if any of the following applies:
(1) The injured person was at the time of the accident operating the vehicle in violation of Section 23152 or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and was convicted of that offense.
(2) The injured person was the owner of a vehicle involved in the accident and the vehicle was not insured as required by the financial responsibility laws of this state.
(3) The injured person was the operator of a vehicle involved in the accident and the operator can not establish his or her financial responsibility as required by the financial responsibility laws of this state. (b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), an insurer shall not be liable, directly or indirectly, under a policy of liability or uninsured motorist insurance to indemnify for non-economic losses of a person injured as described in subdivision (a). (c) In the event a person described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) was injured by a motorist who at the time of the accident was operating his or her vehicle in violation of Section 23152 or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and was convicted of that offense, the injured person shall not be barred from recovering non-economic losses to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other nonpecuniary damages. (Added November 5, 1996, by initiative Proposition 213, Sec. 3. Applicable, by Sec. 4 of Prop. 213, to actions in which the initial trial has not commenced prior to January 1, 1997. Note: Prop. 213 (The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996) also includes Section 3333.3.) [Emphasis added by author] (Source.)
As noted above, this section is not just about the failure to have auto insurance or a substitute like a bond. For example, if the person injured was guilty of violating “23152 or 23153 of the Vehicle Code,” no damages are available for pain and suffering either. In short, these two sections deal with being wasted and driving.
Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) provides in short that it remains a misdemeanor to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) provides that remains a misdemeanor to drive with .08% or greater level of alcohol in the blood.
Imagine being involved in a car accident in the state of California. The first thing that comes to mind should be, “is the car insured”? If the answer is no, you will not receive full compensation for your injuries, even the accident was not your fault, and the other party is fully insured. The only recompense you will receive is for economic damages only.
Economic damages refer to lost wages, repair costs, and medical bills. You will not receive anything for your pain and suffering.
Yes, and your lawyer will be able to tell you that there are three instances in which Proposition 213 does not apply:
For the last point, drivers with insurance on another vehicle will be covered for full damages as he or she is considered to be insured. This law does not apply to passengers and only applies to the uninsured driver, regardless of who is in the wrong.
The first thing you should do when you realize the car does not have insurance is to contact a lawyer. A skilled lawyer will be able to help you obtain the monetary compensation that you rightly deserve. However, do note that not many lawyers would be willing to take on this case due to the low contingency fee. That’s why it’s important to find a lawyer who is passionate about fighting for justice and has a track record of taking on cases that are plaintiff-focused rather than money-oriented.
Being involved in a car accident is troublesome, and especially hard if you don’t have insurance to cover for your damages and costs. If you are residing in California and own a car, it would be wise to look into automobile insurance packages to prevent such injustice to be done, in the event you are in a car accident.
Downtown Los Angeles Office
633 West 5th Street #2890
Los Angeles, CA 90071
5001 Airport Plaza Dr Ste 210
Long Beach, CA 90815
8752 Holloway Drive Ste 304
West Hollywood, CA 90069
201 Wilshire Blvd. Fl 2
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Torrance, CA 90505
4640 Admiralty Way Ste 500
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
633 West 5th Street #2890
Los Angeles, CA 90071
509 S Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
655 N Central Avenue
Glendale, CA 91203
8333 Foothill Blvd #200
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
11801 Pierce St, Ste 200
Riverside, CA 92505
198 North Arrowhead Ave. #20
San Bernardino, CA 92408
600 Anton Boulevard #11
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
23046 Avenida de la Carlota, Ste 600
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
9180 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
5160 Birch St #110
Newport Beach, CA 92660
333 City Blvd. #17
Orange, CA 92868
1999 S Bascom Ave, Ste 700
Campbell, CA 95008
50 Francisco Street #460
San Francisco, CA 94133
1902 Wright Pl, Ste 200
Carlsbad, CA 95008