How Much to Expect From Car Accident Settlement in California (2023)

Motor vehicle accidents happen every day. While some accidents can be resolved with insurance claims, others are more damaging and demand more extensive legal recourse against those responsible. If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a car accident caused by someone else, you need legal representation you can trust to guide you through the recovery efforts ahead of you. Your attorney can help you get compensation for your recovery beyond what you may initially expect.

It’s natural to worry about your economic losses and wonder how much of a recovery you can expect from a car accident claim. Every driver in the state must have auto insurance coverage, and the state uses the fault system to resolve vehicle accident claims. This means the driver who caused your accident is liable for your damages. However, both an insurance claim and a subsequent personal injury case against them are going to be much easier to handle when you have reliable legal counsel advising you.

Filing an Auto Insurance Claim After a California Car Accident

State law requires all drivers to have auto insurance coverage that includes $15,000 or more in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person, $30,000 or more in total accident liability coverage, and at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage. This may seem like enough to cover your losses, but many car accident victims quickly discover that their damages far exceed the scope of the insurance coverage available.

Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult, but a good attorney can facilitate your claim process and streamline securing compensation for your damages from the insurance company. Your attorney can file your demand letter and resolve any disputes from the insurer on your behalf. If the claim settlement you obtain is not enough to resolve the full range of losses the defendant caused, your attorney can enhance your recovery with a personal injury suit.

Compensation for a Personal Injury

State law allows a personal injury plaintiff to ask for full compensation for all the economic losses they incurred due to the defendant. These are likely to include medical expenses, lost income, and vehicle repair costs. It’s important for the plaintiff to know that they not only have the right to claim compensation for immediately calculable damages but also anticipated future losses resulting from the incident. For example, you can hold a defendant responsible for health care-related expenses and lost income, as well as your future treatment costs and lost earning capacity.

State law also allows a personal injury plaintiff to seek recompense for pain and suffering, and there is no limit on this aspect of your claim in a motor vehicle accident case. When you choose Shaffer Law as your personal injury team, we will look for every channel of recovery available to you that may help you enhance your total case award. Therefore, if the car accident you experienced resulted in permanent disability and/or permanently diminished earning power, you could secure a far greater amount of pain and suffering compensation than you initially expected.

It’s important to remember that California upholds the pure comparative fault rule, so if you bear any measure of liability for causing your accident, this will diminish your final compensation. Therefore, if an investigation reveals that you are 10% at fault for your recent accident, this will mean losing 10% of your final case award. It is also possible that the defendant exceeded the scope of typical negligence, and restitution or punitive damages could come into play in your case. The best way to mitigate any comparative fault you absorb and preserve your recovery is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in your recovery efforts.


Q: What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in California?

A: The total amount of compensation you could receive from your car accident claim hinges on the severity of your losses. Most victims are able to recover roughly 1.5 times as much as the economic damages they suffered. This includes repayment of their economic damages and compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced. Your attorney can give you an estimate of how much compensation you should expect if you win your case.

Q: How Much Compensation Can I Claim for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident?

A: State law does not place a limit or cap on the amount of compensation a plaintiff can seek for pain and suffering from the defendant in their car accident claim. Your attorney may seek a large lump sum if you suffered permanent damage of any kind, or they may deem a per diem arrangement more suitable if you are expected to fully recover from your injuries in a relatively short time.

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

A: Most personal injury car accident attorneys take cases on a contingency basis. This means the client only pays a legal fee once their attorney wins their case, and their fee is a percentage of the final case award. This will ensure the plaintiff secures the majority of their case award and pays nothing upfront for the legal representation they require.

Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

A: There is a two-year statute of limitations on most personal injury claims in California. This means you have two years from the date your injury occurred to file your civil claim against the party who caused it. However, if you intend to file an auto insurance claim against the driver who caused your accident, you have a much shorter time in which to do so.

Shaffer Law has helped many past clients recover from damaging car accidents, and we are often able to secure better results than our client expects at the outset of their case. If it’s time to explore your options for legal recourse after another driver has injured you, contact our team today and schedule a free consultation.