3 Things You Need Know About Proposition 213

Sunday, December 20, 2020

If you live on the west coast, chances are you have already heard about Proposition 213, an act that was enacted to protect California drivers against uninsured motorists. According to Consumer Watchdog, in 1996, California voters passed Propositiontion 213, also known as the “no pay, no play” initiative. This act states that drivers can not receive pain and suffering damages for injuries suffered in an auto accident caused by an uninsured driver.

Here are 3 things that you need to know about Proposition 213:

1. When Proposition 213 doesn’t apply

There are instances where the scope of Proposition 213 is limited. For example, when an uninsured driver is killed by an insured driver in a crash. Then the heirs of the uninsured dead driver decide to sue for damages. Under Proposition 213, the court may rule in favor of the uninsured dead driver even though he was not insured. As this case illustrates. In this 1999 case, a supreme court allowed the heirs of the uninsured driver to sue.

2. Proposition 213 protects law-abiding citizens

Proposition 213 was enacted to protect law-abiding citizens against criminals and uninsured reckless drivers. However, that doesn't mean every uninsured driver is a felon or a reckless driver. An insured driver can still be a fleeing criminal, drive recklessly, and end up killing an uninsured driver, leaving her children without a parent.

3. Proposition 213 is not always fair

On one hand, Proposition 213 deprives you of receiving compensation if you do not have insurance on the car. On the other hand, it protects insured drivers from tort damages to certain felons (for instance hit and run drivers) and uninsured motorists. This means there are instances when the CA Prop 213 can be used unfairly against an innocent driver. 

Examples of pain and suffering damages

Let's say you are involved in a tragic accident that kills your spouse, and you are left severely injured. What legal recourse do you have? Special Damages and General Damages. Here’s how the two damages differ.

Special Damages can be anything that you can put a price tag on. For example medical bills, and costs associated with repairing your car.

On the other hand, General Damages are not easy to put a value on. They include emotional suffering, trauma, etc.

When Proposition 213 doesn't apply:
1. Proposition 213 doesn't apply when the defendant was convicted of driving under the influence.
2. If the plaintiff can prove that his harm was caused by some other form of negligence,
3. If you were the passenger of the uninsured car who was injured in an accident, proposition 213 will not apply to you as long as you did not own the uninsured vehicle. So this means you still claim for damages of economic or non-economic nature. Proposition 213 does not apply to wrongful death heirs. It’s not always easy to know when CA Prop applies unless you are a qualified lawyer. They will answer any question related to proposition 213.


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