Have you recently been involved in a Los Angeles car accident? If you were injured or your property was damaged in the crash, you’re likely faced with some unexpected financial costs. If someone else caused your accident, they should be held responsible for any costs that you incur. In California, there are two primary ways to recover compensation from an at-fault driver after an accident: insurance benefits and civil lawsuits.
If the person responsible for your accident was covered by insurance, their insurance company will be responsible for taking care of your financial expenses. There are a few advantages to settling privately with an insurance company after an accident.
First, these settlements can help you to avoid time-consuming and costly legal battles in court. You can get money-in-hand without spending a lot of time and energy on a civil lawsuit.
Second, while you do have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and/or their insurance company, it can take a significant amount of time to get the money you need. Settling privately with an insurer can get you money in-hand in a matter of days or weeks.
Third, if your injury and/or property damage was not particularly severe, you can usually get all of the money you need to cover your accident-related costs. Keep in mind, though, that your recovery will typically be capped at the maximum coverage carried by the at-fault driver. If your car is totaled or if you suffer a catastrophic injury, the amount you can recoup from an insurance company may not even come close to covering all of your accident-related costs.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
Sometimes you simply won’t be happy with settlement offers provided by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Maybe the company is undervaluing your claim. Maybe the company refuses to admit fault. Whatever the reason, you always have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and/or their insurance company. In fact, if you don’t accept a settlement, you will have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim for damages.
There aren’t many caps on damages you can recover when you file a civil lawsuit. Economic damages can be recovered up to the amount of your own verifiable (and projected) financial expenditures and losses. In other words, you can recover compensation for bills and out-of-pocket expenses you have because of your accident. These often include things like medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and disability.
You can also recover non-economic damages for injuries that don’t have a direct financial cost or value. Things like pain and suffering or depression are very real, but are difficult to value in terms of dollars and cents. Since these injuries are so subjective, California law does not generally place a limit on the amount of damages that can be awarded to you. This is why settlements can vary significantly from one case to another.
Is There an Average Car Accident Settlement in California?
There really is no “average” car accident settlement amount in California. Instead, the amount of compensation you can recover after an accident will depend on:
- The nature of your accident
- The extent of your injuries, and
- The method you use to recover compensation.
Private insurance settlements will generally allow you to recover up to the maximum of the policy amount held by the at-fault driver. The insurance company handling the case will review the details of your accident and determine an appropriate settlement offer. You can either accept the amount or take matters into your own hands to file a civil claim for damages. If you file a lawsuit, you may be able to force the at-fault driver and/or insurer to cover more of your costs.
Maximize Your Financial Award
Regardless of whether you want to settle matters privately with an insurance company or pursue a civil legal claim, it’s important to consult with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawsuit. Hiring an attorney to handle your case will help to ensure insurance companies aren’t able to manipulate you into accepting a lowball offer. These companies will do whatever they can to minimize the amount of money you receive after an accident.
At Citywide Law Group, our personal injury attorneys will fight to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your accident-related injuries. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with our skilled legal team.