No one is prepared for when a car accident happens. Our daily schedules are upended with doctor’s appointments, dealing with the injuries, getting the car fixed, and more. An important aspect of any car accident injury claim is what’s covered. People want to know what insurance will pay for and therefore what’s the value of their claim?
Every case is different. From the facts of the actual accident to the injuries sustained in it. Below is an explanation of how these amounts are evaluated.
What makes up the average car accident settlement in San Diego?
It’s easy to compare accidents. Many people get into one and say “well my neighbor got X amount of dollars.” But the similarities typically end with the fact there were two accidents. The victim’s injuries, income, medical treatment, price of medical care, and value of the property damage all affect the amount of any settlement. To figure out an “average” car accident settlement, we can break down what goes into it. California courts recognize three different types of damages (dollar value of your injury).
- Special Damages. These are easily identifiable hard costs resulting from the accident. Medical expenses, surgery or other medical treatment, lost wages, and traveling costs are all examples. These can be calculated easily because they are based on actual bills or invoices incurred by the accident victim.
- General Damages. These are damages car accident victims receive for the pain and trauma of the collision. This is what people refer to as “pain and suffering” damages. Pain and suffering consists of both physical and mental pain. Emotional trauma, psychological, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, lost companionship are all examples. General damages are very subjective and it’s difficult to put a value on them. Ultimately, it will depend how well an injured victim can demonstrate their pain and loss if a case doesn’t settle.
- Punitive Damages. These are meant to be a deterrent to a person acting in a similar way in the future. They’re meant to punish the defendant. Typically, the only time punitive damages apply to a car accident claim are limited to situations such as gross negligence, intent to harm, or drunk driving. Punitive damages are usually not recoverable unless a jury awards them.
Where does payment of the average car accident settlement come from?
Depending on whether the other driver has insurance and the type of coverage you have, it could come from either insurance company. Typically, the settlement will be paid from the at-fault party’s insurer. If their limits aren’t high enough to cover the value of your claim, then a claim would be sent to your own insurer under your uninsured motorist coverage.
How much can I except for a car accident settlement in San Diego?
The average car accident settlement falls between $14,000 and $28,000—or $21,000. More serious car accidents average around $31,000. If the injuries are more serious that result in more medical care, missed time from work, etc. then this amount may go up. If there are injuries to the spinal cord or permanent paralysis, these victims will have much higher damages because of the lifetime effects.
About 98-99% of cases will settle before trial. The settlement amount without going to trial is typically lower than going through trial but there are tradeoffs. Litigation can take up to two years and is very grueling. Car accident victims will have to recount the accident, be aggressively questioned on their injuries, and made to feel as if they are somehow at fault. Additionally, the cost of trial for medical experts can many times offset the gain from going to trial. Juries are unpredictable. What can seem like an “open and shut case” can turn into a loss. This is something that both sides evaluate, but namely the accident victim and their attorney will discuss in detail.
Note: If you’re reading this to try to do a comparison to average car accident settlements, we don’t recommend it without speaking to a San Diego car accident lawyer right away. This is because every case is unique and there are many different variables to take into consideration. One being the knowledge of fully valuing a case based on all factors. The average settlement could be well below or above what you’re entitled to.
My name is Daniel Hanecak and I am a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer. I know from personal experience how stressful and time consuming a car accident can be. When you call Hanecak Law Inc., you will speak with me directly. It is my aim to provide you with free and friendly advice. Call me today at (858) 206-4326 for a free case evaluation.
If you’d like to see what others say about me, please look at my profile pages on: