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What is the loophole around Prop 213?

Long Beach, CA |

My mother was killed in a head on collision and her boyfriend of 35 years was injured on his right side of his body leaving him with broken femur, ribs and pelvis and brain damage and blind on half of left eye. My mother's insurance lapsed and her boyfriend was not licensed. The driver that hit them was drunk and on drugs. He is being convicted but the police report is not done yet. What is the loophole around Prop 213?

My mothers boyfriend was the driver and the guy who hit them was driving his stepmothers car. She was covered at 15/30. That doesn't sound fair for what had happened. I understand that our family can file a lawsuit for my mother, but what about our pops? I was told he was not getting anything and he will get medical bills paid only ( which is a half a penny to what the amount is). That doesn't sound right at all. And it was because of Prop 213? Can it be that the insurance didn't see the police report? Is that why they are saying that? I appreciate all of your help very much.

Attorney Answers 8


  1. Prop 213 does not apply in a wrongful death case unless an heir (and only to that heir) was the owner or operator of the vehicle (and uninsured) but does apply if the driver is specifically excluded under an automobile liability policy by name.


  2. Who was driving, your mother or boyfriend? Whose car were they in? If the car was owned by your mother, and driven by her, then boyfriend is passenger and isnt subject to Prop 213. if BF was driving and it was his car, then mother was passenger and isnt subject to Prop 213.

    if deft is convicted of dui, then Prop 213 doesnt apply.


  3. The worst has already happened. This is an awful situation and I'm so sorry to hear about it.

    It's true that Prop 213 can cause a lot of problems, but in this situation know this: "heirs of an uninsured driver killed in a crash can sue for damages beyond the limits placed by California voters on lawsuits by the uninsured drivers themselves."

    In other words, if you're suing on behalf of your mother, Prop 213 is limited or does not apply. In this spot, it's possible the insurance company or companies will try to mess with you before offering policy limits, potentially leading to much better recovery if everything is handled correctly.

    A lot of firms, including mine, offer free consultations and will maximize your recovery. It's important you hire someone qualified to handle these issues; I cannot stress that enough.


  4. I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your mother and the injuries sustained to her boyfriend. Whoever you choose to be your attorney (if you do not yet have one), choose a local area personal injury attorney that is experienced and you feel comfortable with. Most offer a free initial consultation. My colleagues have given you some good points to consider, depending upon answers to the questions they have posed, such as who was driving. I assume that the driver of the other car had automobile insurance as your mother's insurance had lapsed. Do not forget that the driver of the other car was drunk and on drugs. Good luck.

    Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  5. No need for a loophole in your unfortunate situtation. The State Supreme Court ruled that Prop. 213 does not apply to heirs suing for wrongful death. Here is a link to an LA Times article from 1999: http://articles.latimes.com/1999/aug/10/news/mn-64311.

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your mother and life changing injuries to her longtime boyfriend. Please consult with a lawyer about your rights and the steps you should take.


  6. I am sorry for your terrible loss.

    You need to consult with a personal injury lawyer and/or car accident attorney familiar with Prop 213. My office has handled many such matters. First you need to understand what 213 does, it prevents an uninsured driver from collecting general damages. An injured driver is still entitled to recieve economic damages.

    So the situation your family is essentially as follows, if you mother was the driver, Prop. 213 does not apply to the family/heirs bringing an action for wrongful death. So general damages are recoverable along with economic damages.

    If your mother's boyfriend was not the driver then Prop 213 is not applicable and he can recover general (pain and suffering) damages and economic damages (medical expense, loss of income, future medical expense, future loss income damage to earning capacity, etc . . .) If he was the driver he can recover his economic damages, which based upon your statement would be considerable.

    Finally if the driver of the other was drunk and on drugs punative (punishment enhancement) damages can be recovered. Finally if the drunk driver is convicted of certain felonies attorney's fees and other enhancements may be recoverable.

    You should consult with a personal injury attorney.

    Sorry for your loss and good luck.

    The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am only licensed in the State of California and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.


  7. My collegues have covered the subject of Prop 213 well. The main question at this point is does the responsible driver have insurance or assetts or is there some other person or entity that might be held responsible such as an employer or the owner of a vehicle that negligently entrusted the vehicle to the drunk driveror some other person that is responsible for serving the responsible driver alcohol when they knew they would be driving. I handle these types of cases regularly around the state and I am happy to talk to you to explore the situation with you. I'm so sorry for your loss.


  8. The other responding attorneys have covered your question very well, so I won't restate what has already been answered.

    It's worth mentioning again, however, that if you have not already done so, you need to immediately consult with a licensed attorney to protect any claims that you might have in this matter. The time you have to file your claims before the statute of limitations expires has already begun. Don't stop calling attorney's offices until you've retained someone that you're comfortable working with.

    Best of luck to you!

    This information is not legal advice, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is intended for general informational purposes only. Said information is given in the context of California law.