Personal injuries can have devastating effects on victims and their families. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult for the victim of a personal injury to calculate their damages or determine the best first steps to take after experiencing the harmful effects of another party’s negligence. In California, thousands of personal injury claims are filed every year for various reasons. If you or a loved one recently experienced any type of personal injury, it’s natural to wonder how much you could potentially obtain if you succeed with your personal injury claim.
What Types of Compensation Can I Claim?
California’s personal injury laws allow a plaintiff to seek financial compensation for all damages a defendant caused. Generally, plaintiffs can seek both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are more straightforward and typically include:
- Medical expenses. If another party injured you, they are responsible for all the resulting medical treatment costs. You can seek compensation for immediate medical expenses like hospital bills and any related medical expenses you are expected to need in the future, or ongoing treatment costs you incur.
- Lost income. Your personal injury could leave you without the ability to work for a long time. You can hold the defendant accountable for income lost during your recovery. If you cannot resume working at all due to a permanent disability the defendant caused, you can hold them accountable for your lost future earning capacity. Your attorney would help you calculate how much you would have reasonably expected to earn in the future had your injury not occurred and add this amount to your claim.
- Property damage. If the defendant’s actions damaged your personal property, you could seek compensation for anything insurance won’t cover.
It’s common for personal injury plaintiffs to discover their claims are worth much more than they initially expected once they have legal counsel representing them. However, the bulk of many personal injury plaintiffs’ recoveries is non-economic damages.
California law allows a plaintiff to seek compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental trauma resulting from a defendant’s actions. A personal injury attorney will help their client determine a fair amount of pain and suffering compensation to seek in their claim based on how serious the client’s injuries are and whether they are likely to have long-term or permanent complications because of them.
If a plaintiff’s injuries are likely to heal completely with few to no long-term effects, their attorney may seek “per diem” pain and suffering compensation that awards a certain amount of compensation every day until the client reaches maximum medical improvement. However, for more severe injuries and those that cause permanent harm, attorneys are more likely to seek more significant lump sums to reflect the severity of their clients’ conditions.
Other Damages Possible in Personal Injury Claims
The plaintiff could receive additional compensation alongside their economic and non-economic damages depending on how a personal injury occurred. For example, they may qualify for punitive damages if the judge handling their case determines the defendant was egregiously negligent or showed reckless disregard for the safety of others. If the defendant caused the personal injury due to criminal actions, they would likely face criminal prosecution from California. The judge handling the criminal case could sentence them to restitution, which works in tandem with personal injury damages.
Ultimately, various factors can come into play in any personal injury case that influence the total value of the case for the plaintiff. Therefore, for the best chance of maximizing your recovery after a personal injury in California, it’s essential to seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
FAQs About Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount in California
What Is the Average Personal Injury Settlement in California?
Available statistics show that California’s average personal injury settlement is around $50,000. However, you should not focus too much on this average due to the innumerable factors that can influence the outcome of any personal injury case. It’s possible to secure much less than the average or significantly more depending on the unique details of your case.
What Should You Ask When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?
Ask questions about the attorney’s experience in handling cases similar to yours and their availability for handling your case. When you need legal counsel, it’s essential to choose an attorney who has a solid record of successful cases in the same practice area that applies to your case. You should also ask about their caseload so you can have the reassurance they will be available to provide updates on your case’s progress.
What Type of Evidence Do Personal Injury Lawyers Need for a Case?
The type of evidence that comes into play in a personal injury case depends on the nature of the case. For example, a car accident claim will likely require analysis of vehicle computer data, traffic camera footage, and the drivers’ cell phone records. Likewise, a slip and fall injury claim may require obtaining security camera footage from the building where the incident occurred. In addition, eyewitness testimony from people who saw a personal injury occur comes into play in many types of personal injury claims.
How Much Is Pain and Suffering Worth in California?
California does not cap or limit the pain and suffering compensation in personal injury claims except in medical malpractice cases. The amount the plaintiff receives in pain and suffering compensation depends on the seriousness of their injuries and whether they face permanent disabilities from their injuries.
A personal injury plaintiff in California is likely to have many questions about their rights and legal options after another party has injured them. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s essential to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to start working on your case. The lawyers at Chris and Frank have years of experience providing comprehensive legal representation to injured clients throughout Southern California, and we’re ready to provide our resources and experience to you in your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced California personal injury attorney and learn more about the potential value of your claim.