Question: I was driving southbound on a two lane highway approaching an intersection at a little over the 55mph speed limit when another driver pulled out in front of me from a stop sign going eastbound. I slammed on the breaks and struck him on the back side of his truck. I suffered 3 broken ribs, a fractured chest plate, and pulmonary contusions to my lungs. According to the police report, it was his fault, however I was driving my parents’ uninsured vehicle and the officer noted that I was traveling over the speed limit as a factor in the cause to the collision. He was driving a company truck and they did have insurance. Is his companies insurance likely to compensate me for my medical expenses, ambulance bill, and the replacement of my vehicle? I was told about “Prop 13″ recently being passed which says I am not entitled to “Pain & Suffering” for driving without insurance. However, I would like to not have to pay anything out of my pocket. Any advice?
Answer: Under California law, if you drive without insurance the DMV can suspend your license. However, there are several issues here. First, check your own auto policy since many policies cover the driver, not the car. Whether your parents had insurance on their car may have no bearing on your ability to be compensated from your own first party insurance. Second, keep in mind that it is the third party insurance, i.e. the one that the negligent driver who hit you has that compensates you for your bodily injuries and property damage to your parents’ car. Third, since you were driving in excess of the speed limit, you should expect to be tagged with some comparative fault, some states call it comparative negligence, as settlement negotiations start. Finally, make sure you follow all of the directions of your health care providers so that your care is continuous, reasonable and necessary. Your best bet would be to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area as soon as you can. Most attorneys offer free initial consultations and are paid based on contingency once your case has an established settlement.