How Much is My California Car Accident Compensation Worth?

February 23, 2019

Car accidents happen every day. Each year there are 5.5 million car accidents. From these there are 3 million injuries and 40,000 fatalities. Minor damages results in an average of $3000 in bills for car damages and medical care. More severe accidents cost an average of $500,000 on average in lost ages, car damages, and medical care.

In America, 52% of all personal injury cases filed stem form car accidents. Most people do not understand if they have a legal case, or what the difference is between filing a claim and filing a lawsuit.

At The Law Offices of Daniel Kim, some questions we receive from people in car accidents are things like:

  • Do I have a case?
  • Am I entitled to compensation?
  • What can I claim for personal injury in my case?
  • How much am I entitled to?
  • How long will it take to get compensation?
  • Should I work with a personal injury attorney near me?

We understand your concern and want to learn more. Car accidents are scary, expensive, and sometimes life changing. So, we wanted to take the  time to write an article that can help you answer all of these questions, and learn more about what to do next.

In this article you will learn:

  • If you have a case for your California car accident
  • Whether you are entitled to compensation
  • What you can claim for compensation
  • How pain and suffering is calculated
  • How to get the most out of your compensation
  • Why you need to hire an attorney
  • Where to find the best California Car Accident Lawyer

Let’s get started.

Do I Have A Case?

In order to submit a claim for compensation for a car accident, you need to first establish fault. To do this you have to demonstrate that the other party was negligent. This means they failed to meet a require level of responsibility and from that, the injury was caused.

For example: Being in a car accident and bruising your ribs is insufficient. If you were in a car accident and bruised your ribs because the other driver took an illegal U-turn and now you cannot go to work or walk around, then you can get compensation for lost income and medical bills, as well as damage to your property.

Given the complicated nature of compensation and negligence, it is best to work with an experienced attorney with years of practice under their belts establishing fault and submitting claims.

Are you entitled to compensation for your Southern California car accident?

If you or a loved one was recently involved in a car accident in Southern California, you may be entitled to compensation. As we briefly touched on in the last section, simply being involved in a car accident is not enough to receive compensation for an accident though. The key is negligence.

In order to prove negligence, you need to prove that a driver failed to obey the rules of the road and how. After that, you have to show that you suffered genuine injuries as a result of that negligence.

Physical injuries are easiest to prove, but mental/emotional distress is just as legitimate a claim.

A qualified personal injury attorney is the only person who can evaluate the details of your situation to determine whether you can submit a claim or file a lawsuit.

What can you claim as personal injury in a car accident?

With the help of a Southern California car accident attorney you have to prove that the other party involved was somehow negligent. This means that they knowingly failed to abide by the rules to which all drivers must adhere.

This might include something like running a red light, speeding, failing to stop at a stop sign, merging without looking.

After that is established, you can claim many things as part of your personal injury suit, including pain and suffering, loss of life, medical bills, damage to personal property, lost income, and more.

Your pain and suffering is calculated based on the severity of the injury. Each type of injury is evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the long-term or short-term impact. Some of the most common car accident injuries are:

Common Injuries from Car Accidents

Some of the most common and dangerous injuries from car accidents are:

1. Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries are among the most serious consequences of automotive accidents. They can cause lifelong pain, result in permanent changes to your sensations or your strength, and can even lead to paralysis.

2. Broken Bones

Broken bones are one of the most common injuries in car accidents.  Broken bones from a motor vehicle accidents are often much more severe than those sustained as a child running around the playground. In fact, during a severe car accident you can sustain multiple bone breaks at once.

3. Amputation

Amputation takes place when a limb has to be removed either in part or in whole. After a serious accident and entire arm or leg could be severed and require amputation. Car accidents and amputations are debilitating and can seriously impact day-to-day abilities to walk, drive, and even work.

4. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

TBI, or traumatic brain injuries, happen when the brain is damaged by external force. These can be mild or severe and cause long-term damage to your emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physical abilities. The Centers for Disease Control have found that motor vehicle accidents are the third leading cause brain injury related deaths, and they are the leading cause for people between the ages of 5 and 24.

5. Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is when a loved one is lost due to the negligence of another driver is the most serious of tragedies. Unfortunately while no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one, it can help protect the family from additional suffering.

How To Calculate Pain And Suffering From Your Car Accident

The damages, or compensation, to which you are entitled will vary based on the severity of the accident and the injuries you sustained.

Minor whiplash will not result in the same compensation as someone with broken bones that will lead to permanent disfigurement.

Consider this example:. Victim A has $5,000 in medical bills the result of receiving chiropractic treatment for minor back pain. Victim B has $5,000 in medical bills from a visit to the doctor to take X-rays and put a cast on a broken arm. In this example Victim A  would receive a settlement closer to $5,000 while Victim B would receive a settlement closer to $25,000.

The reason for this is that soft tissue injuries like back pain are considered less serious and considered to cause less suffering compared to broken bones. This is not necessarily true for all situations. There are plenty of cases where back pain can be much more painful but state law stipulates that broken bones receive higher payouts because of their “higher pain”.

Example 2: Now, consider that the $5,000 in medical bills for Victim C was to cover the cost of hospital visits the result of lacerations to the face that will leave them with a permanent disfigurement. In this situation the damages awarded could reach upwards of $50,000 because of the permanent disfigurement aspect.

Your compensation amount will increase with permanent injuries. Again, the idea behind this is that you receive compensation for things like emotional distress, physical pain, and medical bills. If you have a permanent injury your medical bills will be long-standing and last the rest of your life and therefore the settlement you receive should be adequate enough to cover the medical costs you have to contend with for the rest of your life.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress also impacts your personal injury claim. Your car accident settlement pain and suffering is best determined with the help of a qualified personal injury attorney.

Disfigurement as a result of a car accident can cause emotional distress for people each time they go outside. This is going to cause more emotional distress compared to someone who simply had a broken arm with no complications. Being the sole breadwinner, you could claim emotional distress from the inability to provide for your family, from the emotional fatigue brought on by the accident itself, especially with regard to things like post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lost Income

On that note, lost income plays a critical role in your personal injury claim. If you were injured severely enough that you are unable to work, during the time that you could not return to work, your lost wages will be calculated into your personal injury claim. Again, if you received a permanent injury and you are now physically unable to complete your job, your settlement will be higher.

For Example:  If you are a general contractor and you have worked in the construction industry for 17 years, during which time you work your way up from a low-level carpenter up to the business owner of a construction company who is now the general contractor overseeing all construction projects, you might not be able to do your job because of a serious car accident. In that case you are entitled to compensation for whatever income you have lost and will lose as a result of the accident. If, instead, you are a general contractor and you were simply unable to be on the job for two months, but you could go back to work after that, your settlement would include those lost wages.

Property Damage

Property damage has to be considered. If you were in a car accident and your vehicle is now totaled, the responsible party will be required to provide compensation such that you are able to make any car repairs or replacements based on the damage.

If the front part of your car was damaged irresponsible party should be required to pay for the damages and the cost of repairing. If your vehicle was totaled, they will provide you in most cases the current Blue Book value of your vehicle in compensation so that you could theoretically purchase the exact same make and model today.

Average Pain and Suffering Settlements

Pain and suffering settlements vary from one person to the next. However, you can see what the average settlements have been in preparation:

  • Of people who win their case, half of accident victims receive up to $24,000.
  • The median award for a personal injury case is $31,000.
  • The average compensation for a car accident personal injury case is $16,000.

We do not promise or guarantee these results as they are based off of nationwide aggregates. However, rest assured that we will fight for a fair settlement.

How to Get the Most Compensation for Your Southern California Car Accident

In order to get the most for your Southern California car accident, you should hire an attorney immediately. With the help of a qualified team, you can make sure no stone is unturned.

1. Speak With A Car Accident Attorney

Speak with a Southern California personal injury lawyer. Only with the help of a qualified injury attorney will you be able to maximize your personal injury compensation, explore all avenues of special damages, and successfully prove slightly more challenging claims like emotional or mental distress.

2. Settle Before Court if Possible

Settle before court, even for serious injury compensation claims. Only 1 out of every 20 lawsuits go to court. Most people will settle beforehand for a favorable sum of money because it mitigates the financial risk, especially for insurance companies. Working with a personal injury attorney to get a settlement early on will help potentially increase the total compensation you receive from the crash.

3. Seek Medical Attention No Matter What

If you were injured in accident but you allowed your injury to get worse or a handful of time before you filed your claim, or you went to the doctor but ignored the advice they gave you for treatment, the total amount of damages you receive drop significantly. You have to do everything you can to receive a medical diagnosis and follow through with any treatment.

4. Work With A Southern California Car Accident Attorney

Working with a Southern California car accident attorney gives you peace of mind, knowing that a team of trained staff is handling the ins and outs of your case. They will keep you updated on what steps you need to do, what documents they need from you, so that you can focus on recovering.

Why Work With The Law Offices of Daniel Kim?

At The Law Offices of Daniel Kim, our personal injury lawyers have a combined 25 years of experience helping our clients receive the compensation they deserve. We know that you might be unsure about hiring a lawyer, but we are here to answer your questions and address your concerns in a no-obligation setting.  

We provide free case evaluations for all of our potential clients. If you have been involved in a collision in Southern California, give us a call to learn more about:

  • If you have a personal injury claim
  • How much you may be entitled to
  • What steps to take next

Give us a call today for your free case evaluation, and get started getting the compensation you deserve.