Settlement Factors in a Car Accident Case

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The settlement value of your injury claim from a car accident will depend on multiple factors. There is no automatic amount that the insurance company of the at-fault driver will pay you. The amount you can pursue will depend on the facts of your situation.

A California personal injury attorney can evaluate the potential settlement range of your injury claim and advocate for you so that you can focus on getting better. Here are some of the settlement factors in a car accident case:

The Issue of Fault

Someone else must be at fault for causing or contributing to the accident before you can collect money damages from them. Sometimes things happen that are no one’s fault. We will have to prove these things to hold someone responsible for your losses:

  • The defendant owed you a legal duty, such as the obligation to drive with caution and obey the traffic laws.
  • The at-fault driver breached that duty of care. It is negligence when a person’s conduct fails to measure up to the legal standard. Exceeding the posted speed limit is an example of negligent behavior.
  • The careless act must be the thing that caused or contributed to the collision. Let’s say that the defendant lost control of his car and slammed into your vehicle because of his excessive speed. The negligent act of speeding caused the crash.
  • You must have measurable damages to go after compensation from the at-fault driver. Physical injury satisfies this requirement.

When we can establish all four of those factors, we can pursue the defendant for money damages.

Economic Losses

Your economic damages include out-of-pocket losses you sustained because of the accident and your injuries. Two of the main categories of economic damages are:

  • Medical expenses. Typically, we can include the reasonable cost of the medical treatment you needed for your injuries. Bills from the ambulance, emergency room, doctors, hospital, surgery, laboratory tests, x-rays, physical therapy, and prescription drugs are a few examples of medical expenses that can be a part of your injury claim.
  • Lost wages. If you did not receive your usual earnings because of the accident and your recuperation time, we can add the difference to your claim. This category can include lost wages, salary, self-employment, and other forms of regular income.

You might have additional economic losses that can get included in your injury claim.

Intangible Damages

These losses do not always have a paper trail that quantifies them in dollars. We can calculate the monetary value of items like these:

  • Pain and suffering, for the physical discomfort and emotional distress you endured as a result of the collision.
  • Disfigurement like visible scars and burns.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life if the accident left you unable to do activities you used to enjoy.
  • PTSD, also called post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people develop PTSD after a significant crash that involved catastrophic or fatal injuries.

These are but a few examples of intangible losses after a car accident.

Future Losses

You could be eligible for additional compensation if you have physical, cognitive, emotional, or other long-term impairment or chronic pain because of the collision. Also, we might be able to add future lost wages to your injury claim if your doctor expects that you will have to take a lower-paying job or work fewer hours became of the harm you experienced.

A California personal injury attorney can work directly with the at-fault party’s insurance company to try to negotiate a settlement. Get in touch with our office today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.