Generally under California law (Civil Code § 3333.4) if a person is injured while driving their own vehicle on which, for whatever reason, they carried no auto liability insurance at the time of the accident, they cannot recover any money damages for their injuries and pain and suffering (called “general damages”), but are limited to recovering only their damages for the property damage to their car, their past and future medical bills and their past and future loss of earnings (called “special damages”) from the other negligent driver’s insurance company. The above cited statute therefore in effect penalizes those drivers who fail to carry auto liability insurance on their own vehicles even when the accident was not their fault. The fact that the car had an expired registration has no bearing in this matter regarding the injured driver’s right to recover money damages.
If the same driver had passengers in his or her car who were not co-registered owners of the car along with the driver, then they can recover all of their general and special damages without the restriction imposed by Civil Code § 3333.4 from the negligent driver’s insurance company up to the limits of his or her insurance coverage.
These kinds of cases can frequently become much more complicated, and therefore it is highly recommended that the injured driver and the passengers, if any, hire an experienced personal injury attorney like my own firm which has over 40 years of experience specializing exclusively in the handling of personal injury cases.