WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE INJURED WHILE DRIVING BUT HAVE NO INSURANCE?
In California, Prop 213 was passed in 1996, which limits the damages you can obtain after a collision. Whether you are able to fully recover for your injuries after an accident depends on whether you had liability insurance on your vehicle during the time of the accident. The public policy behind this law is that since liability insurance is mandatory while operating a motor vehicle in California, those who do not have insurance should not get the same privileges as those who do have insurance at the time of an accident.
Prop 213 only applies to the driver of the non-insured vehicle. This means that if you are a passenger in a non-insured vehicle, you are still entitled to full compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party.
What Damages Can I Recover If I Was Driving a Vehicle Without Insurance?
If you do not have insurance on your vehicle at the time of an accident, you are only entitled to recover Economic damages. Think of Economic damages as anything with an objective value or cost. Examples include:
- Medical bills.
- Cost to repair your damaged vehicle.
- Rental bill or loss of use of your vehicle.
- Lost wages and/or loss of employment.
- Other property damage.
If you do not have insurance on your vehicle at the time of an accident, you will NOT be able to recover Non-Economic damages. Think of Non-Economic damages as more personal and emotional damages which are valued subjectively, depending on the harm caused to the individual. Examples include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental and emotional distress.
- Physical impairment and disfigurement.
- Loss of enjoyment of life and daily activities.
Case Study: Why Having Liability Insurance Is So Important:
Often times, when you are injured in an accident, your Non-Economic damages may significantly outweigh your Economic Damages. For example, imagine you are involved in a catastrophic auto accident, which results in the loss of a limb. If you do not have valid liability insurance at the time of that accident, you will only be able to recover things like your medical expenses and lost wages resulting from the accident. However, even if are not at fault, you will not be able to recover anything for the physical and emotional harm of having to live without one of your limbs for the rest of your life. In this scenario, your Non-Economic damages would likely far outweigh your Economic damages. This is why it is crucial to always have valid insurance when operating a motor vehicle in California.
EXCEPTION TO PROP 213
There is a limited exception to Prop 213. When the at fault driver is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and is convicted of DUI, then you are entitled to receive both economic and non-economic damages. This means that if you driving without liability insurance but are injured by a drunk or impaired driver, then you will be able to fully recover for your injuries.
If you are injured in an accident in which you did not have valid liability insurance but the other driver was drunk or impaired, contact the Law Offices of Mher Asatryan so that we can start working on your case immediately and do everything in our power to ensure the at fault driver is convicted of DUI in order to obtain full recovery for your injuries.