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How Driving an Uninsured Vehicle May Limit Your Damages Claim After an Accident

If you are involved in an auto accident caused by another driver’s negligence, and you are injured, you may seek compensation for your injuries and related damages from the negligent driver. However, California requires that all drivers have insurance protection for any vehicles they own. If you do not have insurance coverage for your vehicle, state law limits the damages you may recover.

When a person is injured in an auto accident caused by another driver’s negligence, the injured person may seek damages for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are monetary losses such as current and future lost income, current and future medical expenses and damage to property. Non-economic losses include pain and suffering, physical impairment, loss of a limb, permanent disfigurement and future disability. Economic losses are easily measured; they are hard dollar amounts. Non-economic losses are much more subjective and can be worth significantly more in damage awards.

However, under California law an “uninsured motorist” may not be awarded non-economic losses in automobile negligence cases. Therefore, if you are an uninsured driver injured in car crash, your ability to recover damages from the other driver could be limited to your provable economic losses. (The law also states that if the injured driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs, that person may not seek compensation for non-economic losses.)

If you find yourself in this situation, you need an experienced California auto accident attorney to fully investigate your case and your status under California law.

An attorney can analyze whether any of the law’s exceptions to the general prohibition on non-economic damages apply. You are not limited to economic damages if:

  • You are a passenger in an uninsured auto you do not own.
  • You are driving an uninsured auto you don’t own but have insurance coverage for a car you own.
  • You are driving a car with no insurance protection that is owned by your employer.
  • You are a survivor of an uninsured motorist killed in an accident.
  • The accident occurred on private property.

Patterson Law combines the experience of a large firm with the personal attention of a small firm. We are experienced California auto accident lawyers and will fight for your rights. We primarily serve Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, though we work with clients from Los Angeles and San Francisco as well. Initial consultations are free. Call us at 888-479-4589 or contact us online.