Proposition 213: Why Not Having Vehicle Insurance Hurts Your Personal Injury Case
When you get hurt in a car wreck in California, and someone else is at fault, you have a right to ask for payment for your property damage, medical bills, time lost from work, and your pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can often be the most valuable part of a personal injury settlement. Your quality of life is precious. But if you get hurt in an accident while driving and don’t have vehicle insurance, you lose the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering. This is because of a law known as Proposition 213.
Proposition 213 was put on the ballot for California voters in 1996 and passed. Insurance companies poured millions of dollars into lobbying to pass the bill. Insurance companies argued that this law would incentivize drivers to get insurance (but most people do not know about the law until after they are in an accident). It means that if you are in an accident, even if the other driver is 100% at fault and you did nothing wrong, you cannot get paid for your physical pain and mental anguish. Even someone who becomes paralyzed will not be able to get money for their suffering if they didn’t have vehicle insurance.
Keeping valid insurance on your vehicle doesn’t just protect other drivers if you cause a wreck, it protects your ability to get paid what you deserve. If you are subject to Proposition 213, you can take some comfort in the fact that you can still receive money for your property damage, medical bills, future medical treatment, and lost wages.
There are some exceptions to Proposition 213, such as if you are hit by a drunk driver and they receive a DUI. If you are driving an uninsured vehicle that does not belong to you, but you have your own insurance on your own vehicle, Proposition 213 does not apply. The law applies only to drivers, not passengers. If your accident occurred on private property, you may be exempted from Proposition 213. There are other limited exceptions. If you were injured while driving and didn’t have insurance, it’s worth speaking to a personal injury attorney about your rights.