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How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement in California

If you are involved in a car accident that someone else caused by their negligent driving behavior, the law allows you to file a personal injury case. In car accident cases, the car accident settlement you receive is intended to help cover your financial losses stemming from this event. 

Accident settlements involving injuries should provide you with the money you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and additional out-of-pocket expenses that directly result from the crash. However, you should know that in a California car accident settlement, there is no such thing as a typical car accident settlement. This is because of the many factors that can impact the average settlement amount. 

Caputo & Van Der Walde, LLP is a leading California law firm specializing in personal injury cases, including the motorcycle accident and car accident settlement process. With years of experience and a team of personal injury lawyers, we aim to help car accident victims recover a fair California car accident settlement. In this informative blog post, we provide a deeper understanding of what could affect your car accident settlement in California.

Two Vehicle Front Row Collision

Factors That Can Affect the Average Car Accident Settlement

The reason it is so difficult to determine an average car accident settlement in California is that all car accidents have varying factors. Every car accident case will be different, even when comparing similar types of car accidents. 

For example, if you were in a T-bone accident, you may have been lucky and only sustained minor injuries. However, in other T-bone accidents, victims could suffer serious injuries. The types of injuries and their severity along with the damages in personal injury claims are seriously considered when determining a fair settlement amount. 

Here is a look at the factors that can affect your car accident settlement in California.

Severity of Injuries

One of the most important factors in your settlement amount will be the injuries sustained. Severe injuries will usually command a higher car accident settlement. When you have serious injuries, it is reasonable to expect that you will require long-term disability or extensive medical treatments. If you suffer severe injuries that leave you with permanent impacts, you can expect them to require a higher level of compensation to keep you from having to endure the financial hardship of getting the medical care you need.

In a car accident case, car accident claims to the insurance company for medical expenses in car accident settlements often include medical treatment for the following injuries:

Compensatory Damages

In your car accident claim, you will have compensatory damages, which are the losses you’ve experienced in the car crash. You will have economic damages and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the financial losses that have impacted your life as a direct result of your auto accident. Even in minor car accidents, car accident victims may experience economic damages like tow truck fees. In your car accident case, you will likely have medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and future lost wages. Additionally, the medical expenses incurred by way of medical bills may include physical therapy or out-of-pocket costs.

Non-Economic Damages

Your car accident claims may also include non-economic damages, which are a little more challenging to prove. Your personal injury attorney can estimate them using a car accident settlement calculator. Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and even punitive damages may be considered when you seek compensation for your personal injury claim.

Woman On Phone Looking At A Crashed Car


An injured party’s liability in car accidents may also impact the settlement amount. California uses a pure comparative negligence model, which allows you to recover financial compensation even if you share some of the blame. Often in T-bone car accidents, while the driver who crashed into the side of a vehicle is at fault, if you were speeding at the time, you may incur some of the blame for your injuries. The insurance company may seek to lower the payout of the accident claim if they can create what they deem a just cause.

Insurance Coverage

The car insurance company may only provide limited insurance coverage for their policyholder, which is the driver who caused the car accident. Their amount of insurance could mean there are constraints on the settlement. 

How Your Actions After Car Accidents Can Impact Car Accident Settlements

If you have been in a car accident in California, it is vital that you take the right steps to help maximize your settlement amount. The first thing you must do is seek prompt medical attention even if you do not think that you are hurt. When you get medical treatment, it creates medical records that can be used to prove the worth of your case. This will go along with your medical bills, future medical bills, and ongoing medical treatment to help your settlement.

Another important step after a car accident is to call the police as they will create a police report. It can show that the other driver was at fault and could help speed things along for out-of-court settlements. 

Many people advise gathering evidence after a car accident, though this may not be possible if it caused more than just property damage. You may be too injured to do this on your own, which is why you should contact a personal injury attorney. 

An experienced personal injury lawyer will advocate for your legal rights after a car accident. They will fight to ensure that your settlement results in fair compensation for your property damage, physical therapy, ongoing treatment, and other damages. They will also protect you from accepting a settlement that is too low.
The personal injury lawyers at Caputo & Van Der Walde, LLP are ready to help you with your car accident settlement or even a wrongful death settlement if you lost a loved one in a car accident. Contact us for a free consultation and learn more about your legal options as well as how we can help you recover the fair compensation you deserve.