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How Much Money Can I Get From a Car Accident Case?

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Posted on February 10, 2024

person fanning money with the caption: "understanding compensation in a car accident claim"

A minor fender-bender is inconvenient, but a serious car accident can be physically and financially devastating. At the same time that your vehicle has been totaled, hefty medical bills start coming in while you’re unable to work due to temporary or permanent immobility and painful medical procedures. Even car accident victims with less serious injuries may find their families quickly facing financial hardship with a single missed paycheck and extra expenses related to the accident.

A successful car accident claim can help an injury victim get back on their feet financially while they’re focused on getting back on their feet physically. Many car accident victims worry about their financial situation after a car accident and ask, “How much is my car accident claim worth?”

Understanding Damages in a Car Accident Claim

A claim for damages after a car accident is for more than just property damage to a vehicle. “Damages” in a car accident claim refers to all of the economic and non-economic consequences of the accident to the victim. Common damages claimed in car accident cases include any or all of the following:

  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical costs related to the accident
  • Lost wages
  • Future income loss
  • Diminished earning capacity due to accident-related disability
  • Pain and suffering compensation
  • Compensation for other non-economic damages that apply in individual cases such as loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, disfigurement compensation, loss of enjoyment of life

A skilled car accident attorney carefully calculates your damages to maximize the amount you can recover in your claim.

What is the Average Amount Awarded in a Car Accident Claim?

Individual settlements and court awards in car accident claims vary widely depending on the amount of the victim’s damages. Minor injuries that don’t require many days away from work result in far less of a settlement than severe injuries requiring rehabilitation and a leave of absence. Victims of catastrophic injuries with life-altering disabilities recover large settlements or court awards.

Collected data shows the average settlement for a car accident claim is about $21,000, or in a range between $14,000 and $28,000; however, each case is unique. Your claim for damages could result in a significantly higher or lower amount of compensation.

In general, the court process takes significantly longer than a settlement, but court awards through jury verdicts are typically much larger than a settlement.

What If I Was Partly At Fault for the Car Accident?

Like many states, California is a comparative negligence insurance state that allows car accident victims to recover a portion of their damages minus their percentage of fault. This is outlined in California’s Civil Code Section 1714:


“Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.”


Under this law, only when another driver is 100 percent at fault for the accident can a victim recover 100 percent of their damages. If a car accident injury victim contributed to the accident, the amount they can recover is minus their portion of the fault. For example, if one driver is mostly at fault for failing to signal a turn into an intersection but the injury victim contributed to the fault by 25% because they were exceeding the speed limit while crossing the intersection, extending their stopping time, they could still recover $75,000 in a $100,000 claim.

Speak To A Car Accident Attorney About Your Claim

Your San Diego car accident lawyer can give you a better idea about what damages are available to you in the unique circumstances of your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (619) 541-8787 or by reaching out online.