The aftermath of a car accident in California can be devastating. Your life can change drastically in a flash. Depending on the extent of injuries suffered, you may be left with a huge medical bill to clear, which can significantly strain your finances.
Besides huge medical bills, you may also be forced to deal with property damage invoices, rental car fees, and other damages. Things can be even worse if you cannot work due to injuries sustained from the car accident.
Therefore, you may be wondering what California’s average car accident settlement is. We are here to break down the figures for you.
So, what is the average car accident settlement in California? While every car accident is unique, data reported by Forbes shows that the average car accident claim was settled for approximately $23,000 between 2015 and 2020. In California, car accident claims generally settle for between $14,000 and $28,000, with the average settlement being around $21,000.
So, what do these figures mean? Unfortunately, the figures mentioned above mean nothing because every car accident case is unique.
In fact, two car accident victims can suffer similar injuries, but insurance companies can offer dramatically different settlement amounts.
This post delves more into the average car accident settlement in California, including critical factors that will determine the settlement amount. Read on to learn more.
Car Accident Settlement Amounts Vary Greatly
It is impossible to promise an exact settlement amount for your car accident claim because every accident is unique.
The circumstances surrounding every car accident differ, including the extent of injuries suffered, the number of parties involved, and so much more.
Secondly, different insurance companies have varying policies regarding how they deal with car accident claims.
Even if you are fully convinced that your claim is worth a certain settlement amount, the insurance company may disagree completely and offer a significantly lower figure.
Furthermore, California car accident victims usually pursue economic and non-economic damages, adding more variables to the settlement mix.
Economic damages are quantifiable losses that one incurs as a result of the accident. They include medical costs, lost wages due to inability to work, damage to your car or someone else’s property, and other out-of-pocket expenses that you may incur.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that one incurs due to a car accident. They include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement or disability, and other non-tangible damages.
Non-economic damages are often difficult to quantify since they are highly subjective. However, they play a significant role in determining the final car accident settlement amount.
What Are the Best and Worst-Case Scenarios for Your Average Car Accident Settlement in California?
If you have suffered losses in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, it is important to remember that insurance companies will do everything possible to settle your claim for the minimum amount possible. The insurance adjuster assigned to your case isn’t going to look after your interest.
In fact, the state of California has established specific regulations for car insurance settlements because insurance providers will use all means possible to reduce or delay your payout.
For instance, some insurance companies may accuse you of being at fault for the accident even though you weren’t.
Alternatively, they could downplay the extent of your injuries or delay processing your claim for months.
Therefore, contacting a knowledgeable car accident attorney in California is important if you feel that the insurance company isn’t being fair with their settlement offer.
A good attorney knows all the tricks insurance companies use and will do everything possible to ensure you get the settlement amount you deserve.
What Factors Affect Car Accident Settlement in California?
Several factors can affect the overall value of your car accident settlement amount in California. Some of them include:
1. Extent of injuries
The extent of injuries suffered from the car accident can significantly impact the amount of compensation you receive.
For instance, if you suffered brain injuries, internal body organ injuries, spinal cord injuries, or had one of your limbs amputated, you will require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation to recover.
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You may even be forced to explore other avenues beyond medical treatment, such as physical therapy, to reinstate your previous quality of life.
All these can have a significant impact on your finances. Therefore, the insurance company will be forced to recognize all your losses and compensate you accordingly.
2. The degree of fault
In California, the court uses a legal principle known as contributory negligence when determining who is at fault for the car accident. This means that both parties share the blame for an accident to varying degrees.
Therefore, if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your settlement amount can be reduced accordingly.
For instance, if the court determines that you were 20% at fault for the accident, your settlement amount will be reduced by up to 20%.
You can appeal such a decision, but it is always wise to work with an experienced car accident attorney who understands all aspects of contributory negligence law in California.
The amount of evidence presented will significantly impact your compensation amount. Evidence can consist of medical records, surveillance videos, witness statements, police reports, proof of lost wages, and personal reports of the accident.
Presenting strong evidence will ensure your attorney has everything required to form a strong case against the at-fault party.
A strong case means a higher settlement amount and can even push the at-fault party to settle outside court because they know your chances of winning a court case are high.
4. Wage losses
If you sustained serious injuries that impacted your ability to work and earn a living, it will be factored into the settlement equation.
This includes all your past lost wages, future wages you will not be able to earn due to your injuries, and any other financial losses incurred due to your inability to work. Your car accident lawyer can help you determine how much you could receive for this kind of loss.
5. Cost of medical treatment
The cost of all medical treatments you receive due to the car accident can form a significant part of your settlement amount.
This includes all past, present, and future costs associated with necessary medical care, such as hospital bills, physical therapy sessions, rehabilitation services, prescription medications, etc.
6. Non-fiscal damages
Physical therapy, counseling, pain and suffering, and other types of non-fiscal damages are also critical factors considered when determining the value of your car accident claim.
Final Factor: The Quality of Your Lawyer
One crucial factor that will determine the value of your car accident claim is the overall quality of your lawyer.
An experienced car accident attorney understands all the nuances involved in filing a case, negotiating for compensation, and, when necessary, taking the matter to court.
Finding an attorney who is competent and passionate about their work can be daunting.
You should consider all relevant factors, such as experience, reputation, expertise, and fees, before deciding.
We Connect You with Experienced Attorneys to Handle Your Claim So You Can Focus on Recovery
Have you or your loved one been injured in a car accident in California due to someone else’s negligence?
If so, you need a highly experienced and dedicated to review your case and help you fight for the rightful compensation you deserve.
At Legal Giant, we strive to connect you with some of California’s most experienced and dedicated car accident attorneys to handle your case.
Our team of lawyers has decades of combined experience in personal injury law and a track record of obtaining fair out-of-court settlements or favorable court verdicts.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation review of your car accident case.