Proposition 213 and your car accident case

California Proposition 213, Limit on Ability of Drunk Drivers, Persons Without Insurance and Felons to Sue for Damages (1996)

 

Back in 1996, California voters passed proposition 213, 76.83% to 23.17%. The crux of Proposition 213 was to limit the damages that certain persons, who at the time were doing bad things, could receive, if they were injured by the negligence of someone else.

Basically, the public policy behind it was that certain persons doing bad things shouldn’t have the same rights as others. They can still receive economic damages which include medical bills and/or loss of earnings, but they cannot receive compensation for non-economic damages which include: pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary damages.

Hypothetically speaking, if someone falls under Proposition 213 and loses their leg, they could not recover damages (money) for the pain of losing that leg, the daily struggles they will have without their leg and the disfigurement as well. This dramatically decreases the amount of compensation they would have received if they did not fall under Proposition 213

Drunk Drivers

If a person was driving drunk (and convicted) is gets injured in an auto accident caused by another person, the person driving drunk cannot receive compensation for pain and suffering.

 

This means that if someone had a blood alcohol level that was over the legal limit, was stopped at a red light and someone plowed into them, they only receive compensation for their medical bills and/or loss of earnings. One of the many reasons to NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.

Persons Without Auto Insurance

It is true that many people operate vehicle in California without insurance. One way to discourage this, was to create Proposition 213. If you are the driver of a car that is not insured and you are involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you cannot receive compensation from the at fault party for non-economic damages (pain and suffering) from the at fault party.

If you are a passenger in a car without insurance, you can still recover the typical damages.  

There are a few exceptions if you were a driver without insurance which include:

  • the accident happened on private property,

  • the owner of the car did not have insurance, but the driver who borrowed the car did have insurance on another vehicle.  

  • the operator of the car was driving their employer’s uninsured vehicle

 

Persons Committing a Felony

If you were in the mist of committing a felony, you’ll fall under Proposition 213 and you’ll have no luck receiving non-economic damages. So don’t commit any felonies!

Civil Code Civil Code 3333.4 states:

(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 non-pecuniary 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 non pecuniary damages.

CA Civil Code §3333.3 states:

In any action for damages based on negligence, a person may not recover any damages if the plaintiff s injuries were in any way proximately caused by the plaintiff s commission of any felony, or immediate flight therefrom, and the plaintiff has been duly convicted of that felony