The California Litigator
January 23, 2011
By Barbara Haubrich-Hass, ACP/CAS
In 1996, Proposition 213 was enacted, which provides that that those who are in an automobile accident that do not carry automobile liability insurance as required by the California Financial Responsibility Laws are not entitled to recovery of non-economic damages for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary damages.
Typically, if you are injured in a car accident that is caused by the other driver, you are entitled to recover for economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, future damages, and out of pocket costs), and non-economic damages as mentioned above, so long as you carry liability insurance coverage. Proposition 213 eliminates any non-economical damages to anyone who did not have in effect automobile liability insurance at the time of the incident.
An exception to Proposition 213 occurs when the driver of the “at fault” vehicle was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident. Additional exceptions to Proposition 213 include minors, and those individuals making a claim for wrongful death damages.
The provisions of Proposition 213 are embodied in the Civil Code §§ 3333.3 and 3333.4.
Civil Code Section 3333.3 prohibits a person from recovering any damages if the injured person’s injuries were in any way caused by the injured person’s committing of any felony or immediate flight from the felony, and that person is convicted of that felony.
Civil Code Section 3333.4 restricts owners and operators of motor vehicles injured in a motor vehicle accident from recovering non-economic losses for compensation for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary damages if the injured person was not insured at the time of the accident as required by the Financial Responsibility Laws of the State of California, or if the injured person was driving under the influence and was convicted of that offense. Such a person, however, although uninsured, may recover these damages if at the time of the accident that person was injured by another who was convicted of driving under the influence.
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Barbara Haubrich-Hass, ACP/CAS
The California Litigator