In 2022, the average car accident settlement payout amount in California settles between $14,301 and $28,219 – making the estimated local auto accident claim settlement average approximately $21,100 for a typical case today.
Going into any lawsuit, you should know that every case is different dependent upon the circumstances of the accident. While there is always an “average” number we can throw out, that average could be far below or above the settlement you are entitled to in your case. To help you better understand where your case will fall, we are going to look at all the varying factors that dictate how much the case will be worth.
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Ballpark Figures For a California Car Accident Settlement
As noted above, every case is different, but the technical “average” for cases in a car accident settlement in California without significant injury is about $8,200. For accidents with no injuries, the average settlement was around the $5,000 mark, while payouts with serious injuries were at almost $30,000.
Now, we realize that is a pretty wide range, so let’s start to take a look at the varying factors that contribute to how these numbers are obtained.
What Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
In some cases, you may not even need an attorney. For a “fender bender,” you may be better off working out a settlement with the other driver or just going to small claims court. However, when there is significant property damage and/or any injury that has been suffered, you will want to discuss the case with an attorney. This is especially true in injury cases, as these types of injuries can sometimes take days, weeks, or even months to truly develop.
The last thing you want to do in a case such as this is having a handshake deal for a few hundred dollars to get your car fixed only to find out you have a medical condition that developed that will cost you tens of thousands in treatment and therapy.
There are obvious factors that come into play, but the formulas attorneys use look at every aspect of the case, such as:
- Damage to property and vehicle
- Medical bills (past, present, and future)
- Therapy and prolonged care costs
- Missed wages
- Future lost earnings
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
Once all of these costs are added up, attorneys will use a multiplier to get a ballpark figure for the case. This multiplier will be dictated by the seriousness of the injury, future implications, loss of quality of life, and if the injury is permanent or not. For instance, if you suffered “only” a broken arm or leg, the multiplier would be on the lower end of the scale. However, if there was any type of permanent injury, such as brain damage, paralysis, or a lost limb, the multiplier would be at the top end of the scale.
Since California has no cap on personal injury settlements, your attorneys can really shoot for the sky in terms of ensuring you get the maximum settlement possible.
Statute of Limitations for California Personal Injury Lawsuits and Exceptions
In a typical lawsuit, you will have two years to file your claim from the date of the accident. This generally hold true in all cases, but there are some exceptions to that rule that can extend the deadline. Learn more about how many days you have to file a claim after a car accident in California.
Delayed Discovery – this is when you do not initially realize you are injured. As noted above, some injuries can take days, weeks, or even months to show up. If you honestly did not know you were injured and an injury surfaces down the road that can be linked to that accident, the clock does not start ticking until the injury has been discovered.
Out of State – there may be cases where the defendant leaves the state before you had a chance to file. If this happens, the statute of limitations clock is turned off while the other party is out of town.
Government Entity – as I am sure you can imagine, going after the government for an injury lawsuit presents its own challenges. In cases such as this, you must be able to prove the government entity was wholly responsible for the injury. Additionally, you must file an administrative claim within six months of the injury. The government entity that caused the injury then has 45 days to respond.
If the claim is denied, you must file your lawsuit within six months. If they do not respond to the claim within the 45-day period, you still have two years to file your claim.
Do I Need a California Auto Accident Injury Attorney?
There are situations where you can manage this on your own, but as you can see from the varying factors and rules listed above, this can get very complex, very quickly. Since your initial consultation is free of charge, there is no reason not to talk to an attorney for some guidance after a car accident. Since personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, even if you do hire an attorney, you are never out-of-pocket any money (their fee is taken from the settlement). If you are ready to discuss your case, give us a call at 855-633-0888. Or, if you would like to learn more about our auto accident services before talking to one of our attorneys, please fill out the Free Car Accident Injury Consultation Form.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and Injury law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any injuries from vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice.