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The Impact of Prop 213 on Auto Injury Claims

As a Californian, you are likely aware that having automobile insurance is not just a prudent choice but a legal requirement. Despite this, a considerable number of California drivers remain uninsured. If you fall into this category, it is crucial to understand the ramifications of Proposition 213 and how it impacts your ability to recover damages in the event of a motor vehicle accident. This article aims to elucidate the complexities surrounding Prop 213 and provide practical insights into how it affects uninsured drivers.

The Fundamentals of Prop 213

Proposition 213, a piece of legislation passed in California, imposes limitations on uninsured drivers, making it difficult for them to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, even if they are not at fault in an accident. The law was enacted primarily as a response to the surge in insurance premiums and to address the growing number of uninsured motorists on the road.

Types of Damages Under Prop 213

While Prop 213 restricts uninsured drivers from receiving non-economic damages, it doesn't entirely prevent them from recovering economic damages. Economic damages include tangible losses like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. This financial relief remains available to the uninsured driver, although it is subject to California's law of pure comparative negligence, which adjusts the award based on each party's percentage of fault.

Implications for Passengers

An important aspect of Prop 213 is that it does not extend to passengers traveling in an uninsured vehicle. Such passengers remain entitled to full compensation, including non-economic damages, regardless of the insurance status of the driver.

Exceptions to Proposition 213

The law does encompass certain exceptions that allow for the recovery of non-economic damages in specific cases:

  • Drivers operating a company-owned vehicle for which the employer failed to secure insurance.

  • Innocent spouses unaware of their partner’s failure to purchase auto insurance.

  • Incidents occurring on private property.

  • Drivers who are insured but are borrowing an uninsured vehicle.

  • Passengers in uninsured vehicles, provided they are not the owner.

Additional Penalties for Non-Compliance

Beyond the limitations imposed by Prop 213, uninsured drivers face other consequences:

  • First Offense: Monetary fine ranging from $100 to $200.

  • Subsequent Offenses: Monetary fine between $200 and $500.

  • Requirement to file an SR-22 certificate.

  • Possible suspension of driving privileges.

  • Reinstatement fees upon license recovery.


Proposition 213 serves as a reminder of the importance of automobile insurance while driving in California. Though you may recover economic damages, the limitations on non-economic damages can be substantial, making it critical for drivers to understand the full scope of this law.

If you are an uninsured driver and have recently been involved in an accident, it is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney to explore your options for compensation under the constraints of Prop 213.


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