In 1996, insurance companies lobbied for the creation of a new law designed to limit injured parties from recovering damages after an automobile accident. The law, known as Proposition 213, establishes very clearly that if you are driving a vehicle without automobile insurance coverage, the damages you recover in any legal action are limited exclusively to your economic damages (cost of repairs, medical bills, etc.). If you do not have insurance on your vehicle and are involved in an automobile accident, Proposition 213 may prevent you from recovering noneconomic damages (i.e. pain and suffering), regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
That being said, there are circumstances in which Proposition 213 does not apply. It is important to work with an experienced car accident lawyer in Los Angeles to determine if your case falls under Proposition 213’s umbrella.
Excluded Drivers – The Basics
When you start a new automobile insurance policy, most insurance companies require you to include all drivers in your household — including those with expired licenses or those who do not drive. Insurance companies generally consider anyone with the ability to drive to be a potential driver of your vehicle and demands these people be listed on the policy. Think about it this way: A person who lives in your home might never drive your car, but what happens in an emergency? Will that person potentially get behind the wheel? Insurance companies want all these bases covered.
Excluded drivers are people you have specifically excluded from your policy. If an excluded driver gets in an accident in your vehicle, you may be responsible for the damages. Additionally, if you are an excluded driver who gets in an accident in someone else’s vehicle, Proposition 213 may affect your ability to recover damages from that accident.
Possible Exceptions to Proposition 213
While Proposition 213 may limit damages, exceptions do exist. One such exception is for passengers. Proposition 213 only applies to drivers. If you are a passenger in an uninsured car and are injured in an accident, you may be entitled to both economic and noneconomic damages.
Another exception to Proposition 213 applies to recovery in the form of punitive damages. Punitive damages can be recovered if a crime was committed during the accident. For instance, if you are struck by a drunk driver, Proposition 213 may prevent you from recovering noneconomic damages as a result of the accident, but it does not prevent punitive damages assigned by the court for the act of driving under the influence.
Proposition 213 can get pretty confusing if you have never dealt with it before. Make no mistake, insurance companies will do everything they can to limit the damages you can recover, even if your case may qualify as an exception under the law. For more information about Proposition 213, please contact West Coast Trial Lawyers at (888) 539-9582 to ensure you receive the best representation, or visit www.WestCoastTrialLawyers.com.