Car accidents can be devastating. On top of the severe injuries sustained and property damage, you will be wondering who will cover your medical expenses and how the compensation process works. The process can be frustrating, primarily when proving who is responsible for the accident. Also, you will be wondering how much compensation you will be claiming for the car accident.

The smallest amount you will obtain as compensation for the accident should cover medical costs and property damage. The amount could range from $1,000 to at least $1,000,000 based on the injury severity, the degree of fault by the liable party, and the insurance policy size. These factors will play a crucial role in the amount you obtain from the defendant for the car crash.

The Amount You Can Sue for in a Car Crash Claim

The money you can sue the responsible party for in a car crash should cover all your legal damages. Additionally, you can seek punitive damages, although these are hardly awarded in negligence claims. Many factors affect the amount the court will grant for your damages, but an injury attorney is the most efficient way to increase the likelihood of maximum compensation.

A car collision can result in many setbacks in your life if you are the victim. These setbacks stem from the legal damages related to the crash. Some of the damages you will incur are:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost earnings and reduction in future earning abilities
  • Pain and anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Property damage

When you are suing for damages in a California car crash, you are the victim. Therefore, the party responsible for the accident should reimburse you for all the accident-related losses. Even when the collision is not malicious, the at-fault party must be held accountable for breaching their duty of care. The individual should offer monetary compensation to cover the damages. The money is intended to return you to your situation before the accident or make you whole. However, if you have suffered life-changing injuries or lost a loved one, compensation will only help make your life comfortable and easy under the new circumstances. It will not bring the lost loved one back to life.

Suing for Medical Costs

When a car accident results in minor or severe injuries, you should seek compensation from the liable person. Some injuries require ongoing treatment, meaning you do not only need to claim reimbursement for the past and current medical costs but also future medical expenses. Some of the medical costs you can claim after the accident are:

  • Doctor bills

  • The cost of renovating your home or car to make it comfortable under the circumstances

  • Medical devices

  • Ambulance fees

  • Medications

  • Rehabilitation expenses

  • Hospital bills

  • Cost of commuting to and from the hospital

  • Surgical care

  • Physical therapy

  • Occupation therapy

  • Test and diagnostic care

  • Anesthesiology

Injury attorneys discourage victims of car crashes from accepting the first offer tabled by the liable party’s insurer because it is usually a minor offer. You do not have a medical prognosis and the necessary future medical treatment cost estimates, meaning you are likely to obtain compensation not enough to cover all your medical expenses. However, when you wait for a complete understanding of your injuries and the treatment required, you can estimate the number of costs you will incur in the future and include it in your damages for maximum compensation. Therefore, take your time before accepting a settlement and consult with an injury attorney for guidance. An attorney will ensure that the liable party pays for every coin you spend on medical treatment.

The money you obtain for medical expenses varies based on the severity of the injuries. When you are involved in a fender-bender and sustain minimal injuries, the cost of treatment will be significantly low. The reimbursement you obtain for a fatal car crash will be far higher than the one you receive when you suffer minor or no injuries. A deadly accident can involve loss of life and permanent injuries that will require ongoing treatment hence the difference in the amount of compensation.

Lost Wages Vehicle Accident Claims

When you miss work due to injuries from a car crash, you should include lost wages or income in your insurance claim. You want the liable party to pay the wages you lost for the duration you missed work. Also, if the injuries from the crash prevent you from ever working, you can include loss of future earning capability in your claim. That way, you will be covered for the duration you should have been working but could not do so because of the liable party’s negligence that caused the accident and subsequent injuries.

Furthermore, when vehicle accident injuries hinder you from performing your role at work, you should seek compensation for the training you will undergo to learn new skills.

Vehicle Accident Pain and Suffering Claim

Injuries from a car crash can cause severe pain and mental suffering. The pain, emotional distress, and suffering depend on the severity of the injuries. When you suffer life-changing and permanent injuries, you will suffer great pain and anguish. On the other hand, a person with minor injuries will experience little or no discomfort. Also, they are less likely to undergo mental and emotional suffering. The amount of compensation for these damages will vary even if it is difficult to attach a dollar value to these damages.

You can ensure maximum compensation for intangible or non-economic damages by consulting with an injury attorney right after the accident. Vehicle accident attorneys have represented many cases like yours in the past, and based on your injuries, they can tell how much you should claim for these legal damages. An attorney will advise you to write down your feelings and emotions while recovering. When your feelings and pain are on paper, it will be easy to convince the insurance firm that you went through pain and suffering after the accident.

The compensation to be awarded by the court will depend on how well your attorney presents the case and how well documented your pain and anguish proof is. Individuals who did not jot down the pain and suffering they endured from the accident will obtain little or no compensation for these non-economic damages. However, when you preserve evidence of your pain and suffering, you will receive reasonable compensation for the damages.

Also, the compensation amount depends on the type of injury. If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, you will obtain more compensation for pain and mental suffering than a car accident victim who sustained a leg fracture. Further, the permanency level of the injury determines the amount the court will award. When you sustain a temporary injury like a broken hand, you will receive a lesser reimbursement amount because you will undergo less mental anguish than an individual who suffers permanent paralysis or loss of limb due to an accident.

It is worth noting that hiring an attorney from a renowned law firm will increase the chances of maximum compensation. Insurance adjusters tend to prey on unsuspecting car accident victims by offering the most minor compensation claiming it is all they can offer or nothing. These settlement offers are tempting because they come when you are frustrated and face financial constraints because of the medical costs associated with the crash. If you include an injury attorney in your case, the adjuster will drop these tricks and offer a fair settlement. And when the insurance company fails to provide proper compensation, the attorney will help you file a personal injury tort in court before the timeline provided in the law lapses.

Percentage of Fault and How it Affects the Amount of Compensation

The total compensation paid by the liable party depends on the amount of fault. When there is a shared fault, or both you and the defendant are to blame for the crash, your portion of the responsibility will reduce your share of reimbursement. Nonetheless, you will be precluded from seeking compensation if you are more than fifty percent liable for the crash. In some states, you will not be eligible for compensation if you share fault with the defendant.

Shared fault arises when you are partially responsible for the accident. Various states adopt different doctrines when it comes to this. The rules include pure comparative negligence rule, contributory negligence, and modified comparative negligence.

A jury trial is required to assign fault to every individual in question. In a state like California that adopts the pure comparative negligence rule, your compensation will be reduced by your level of blame for the accident.

The modified comparative negligence rule also lowers your compensation based on your share of fault. Nevertheless, under this rule, you cannot recover damages if you are more than fifty percent to blame for the accident. An example of a state that adopts this rule is Texas.

In states that adopt the contributory negligence rule like Virginia, you are barred from obtaining any compensation if you are partly responsible for the crash.

Verdict or Settlement Payment by the Liable Party Insurance Policy Carrier

The defendant’s insurance policy carrier should pay for the full settlement or verdict if you are sufficiently insured. When the at-fault person is underinsured, their insurer will only pay a portion of the total reimbursement, and this will not be enough to cover all the legal damages incurred due to the accident. If the liable party is not insured, they must pay out-of-pocket. Unfortunately, you will be under-compensated because the driver will not have the total amount you require as compensation. And even if their assets are sold, they might not be adequate to cover your damages.

The easiest way to obtain maximum compensation in an injury tort resulting from a vehicle accident is when the at-fault individual has a higher insurance coverage than the legal damages you seek. Therefore, the compensation amount depends on whether the defendant in the claim is fully insured, underinsured, or uninsured.

The defendant is underinsured if their insurance coverage limit is below the total losses you incurred due to the accident as the plaintiff. The responsible party can only compensate you up to their policy limit. If the money is insufficient for your losses, the remaining amount will come from other sources. The accountable driver’s assets could be sold to raise the money. Alternatively, you can use your underinsured motorist policy to cover the losses if you have one.

You must carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to protect you whenever the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured.

Limits on the Damages You can Claim

Unlike many other states, California does not have a cap on the amount of compensation you can seek for your car accident. Nonetheless, a few traps can reduce or deny you compensation for the accident.

First is the timeline for filing your claim. You have no more than two years after the injury to pursue a bodily injury claim and three years for a property damage claim. When the government is involved, the duration is reduced to six months. When you fail to file a claim within this period, you lose your right to seek compensation.

Also, Prop 213 provides that regardless of the person responsible for the accident, you cannot claim non-economic damages like pain and mental anguish if the motorist is uninsured. The only damages available are economic, although you must present evidence.

Lastly, medical malpractice will affect your compensation when you suffer severe injuries that put you in hospital. If your car accident injuries become severe because of medical malpractice, your payment for intangible losses is capped at $250,00.

What to Do After a Car Accident

After you have been involved in a car crash, the action you take plays a critical role in how much compensation you will be pursuing from the liable party. The solidity of your injury claims heavily depends on the evidence you collect. Therefore, you must take a particular action to protect your interest after an accident.

First, you must not flee the scene of the accident. Doing so will be considered a hit-and-run accident, and you can face criminal charges for the offense. You should stop and check if you have sustained any significant injuries. If not, you should step out of your vehicle and check on others, even if they are to blame for the collision.

The excitement and shock stemming from the crash sometimes can force you to forgo treatment. However, whether you feel okay or not, you should visit the hospital for a checkup. Without evidence that you sustained injuries, insurance firms will find excuses to deny your claim, and you can end up with little or no compensation. When you visit the hospital, you should obtain medical records and receipts. The records will help show the connection between the accident and your injuries, while medical receipts will evidence the cost incurred in the treatment. Also, the report excludes any injuries you had sustained before the accident, denying the liable party’s insurer the opportunity to reduce your compensation.

Additionally, you will be filing a compensation claim against the insurance policy carrier of the liable party. Therefore, there is a need to gather evidence because you will be the party that assumes the burden of proof. You need a preponderance of evidence to show that the other party acted negligently and that their action or inaction was the cause of the accident. You can take pictures, record videos, or voices at the scene. These will be crucial to draw a picture of the accident scene in the jury's minds.

Again, the pictures will help show the property damage caused and whether you contributed to the accident. If you are partly to blame for the crash, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, when the evidence gathers only points the finger at the liable party, you will obtain maximum reimbursement.

Another critical piece of evidence you must obtain from the accident scene is the police report. Insurance firms and the court trust this document because it is prepared by police officers with the training and skills to assess the accident scene. The officers will investigate all the elements that could have caused the accident, like weather, poor road conditions, or negligence. They do so by evaluating the scene and cross-examining witnesses. Once the investigations are complete, the officers give their opinion on the party liable for the crash. With this information, it will be easy to build a strong claim that will ensure you are fully compensated for your losses.

Find the Right Injury Attorney Near Me

Partnering with a highly knowledgeable attorney on injury law increases the chances of obtaining maximum reimbursement after a car accident. In particular cases, there are multiple individuals to blame for the accident. It is not easy to prove those liable and how much you are suing them for.

When you bring in an injury attorney in the case, you are likely to obtain fair compensation. At the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, we have a team of dedicated attorneys willing to educate you on the strength of your case and how much you should demand your legal damages. Call us today at 424-231-2013 for a free consultation.