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How Much is the Average Car Accident Settlement in California?

If you have been injured in a car accident in California, you may be wondering how much compensation you can expect to receive. The amount of a car accident settlement depends on many factors, including the severity of your injuries, the type of accident, who was at fault, and the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

On average, minor injury claims resulting from a California car accident settle for around $7,439. Moderate injuries have an average settlement value of $50,054. More severe injuries that result in long-term disabilities or impairment can result in settlements exceeding $1 million.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how car accident settlement amounts are determined and what you can expect to receive for your injury based on the average car accident settlement in California.

Factors That Determine Car Accident Settlement Amounts in California

Several key factors impact how much compensation you may receive for a California car accident:

  • Fault and Liability – Settlements are typically higher when the other driver was clearly at fault. Disputed liability or partial fault assigned to the injured party will reduce settlement amounts.
  • Type of Accident – Rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, and side impact crashes often cause severe injuries that warrant higher payouts. Low speed fender benders result in lower settlement amounts.
  • Severity of Injuries – More severe injuries that result in high medical bills, lost wages, and long-term impairment or disabilities warrant substantial settlements. Minor soft tissue injuries have minimal settlement value.
  • Insurance Coverage Limits – At-fault drivers’ insurance policy limits cap the maximum payout. Umbrella or excess liability coverage can increase available compensation.
  • Location of Accident – Verdicts and settlements tend to be higher in major metropolitan areas where the cost of living is higher.
  • Negotiation Skills – An experienced California car accident attorney can often negotiate a settlement that maximizes the compensation you receive.

Average Settlement Amounts by Injury Severity – STATISTICS

The severity of injuries sustained in a car accident is one of the most important factors that influences the potential value of an injury claim. Minor injuries that heal quickly have lower settlement value, while catastrophic injuries that cause lifelong disabilities warrant substantial compensation. To provide an idea of typical settlement ranges based on broad injury categories, data indicates the following average payouts:

Minor Injuries – $7,439

Minor injuries like cuts, bruises, sprains, and strains have minimal impact on daily functioning. These types of injuries typically heal within a few weeks. Settlements for minor injuries average around $7,439.

Moderate Injuries – $50,054

Moderate injuries cause more disruption to your daily activities and ability to work. Common moderate injuries include bone fractures, torn ligaments, concussions, and injuries that require surgery. The average car accident settlement for moderate injuries is about $50,054.

Severe Injuries – $1,373,155

Severe injuries are debilitating, resulting in permanent impairment and disability. Spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, amputation, and injuries causing permanent vision or hearing loss are some examples. Average settlements exceed $1.3 million for severe injuries.

Settlement Ranges by Accident Type

The type of auto accident and the forces involved also influence potential settlement values. Certain high-speed collisions often result in more catastrophic injuries. Looking at average settlements and awards grouped by rear-end, side impact, and head-on crashes provides insight into realistic compensation ranges based on accident type:

Rear-End Collisions – $2,500 to $5,750,000

Sudden impact collisions like rear-end crashes often cause severe whip-lash type neck and back injuries. Herniated discs requiring surgery are common. Settlements range from a few thousand dollars for minor injuries to several million for permanent impairment.

Side-Impact Crashes – $1,070 to $2,880,984

Violent side impact collisions can cause extreme injuries such as collapsed lungs, rib fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage, and injuries to limbs. Typical settlements range between $1,070 for minor injuries and almost $3 million for permanent disabilities.

Head-On Collisions – $12,500 to $4,200,000

Head-on crashes usually have very high impact forces that can cause severe injuries. Injuries often include head/brain trauma, broken bones, organ damage, and spinal cord injuries. Settlements for minor injuries start around $12,500, but severe injuries can warrant $4 million or more in compensation.

Examples of Large Settlements in California

To provide an idea of realistic settlement amounts for serious injuries in California, below are examples of recent notable verdicts and settlements:

  • A driver who suffered herniated discs and pain in their neck and back from a rear-end collision received a $915,000 settlement.
  • Another driver was awarded a $1.25 million settlement after a minor rear-end crash caused injuries requiring multiple back and hip surgeries.
  • A traumatic brain injury victim received a $2.9 million settlement after sustaining head and neck injuries in a car accident.
  • In a recent Alameda County case, a plaintiff was awarded over $5.75 million after suffering collapsed lungs, permanent neck and back injuries, and other severe impairments from a head-on collision.

How Your Actions Can Impact Settlement Value

There are steps you can take after an accident that may help maximize the compensation you receive. Some things that may negatively impact your potential settlement include:

  • Posting on social media activities that conflict with claimed injuries. Insurance companies monitor social media accounts and can use evidence of physical activities against your claim of impairment.
  • Delaying medical treatment makes injuries more difficult to substantiate and value.
  • Gaps in treatment where you miss doctor’s appointments also reduce claim value.
  • Failure to follow prescribed treatment plans like physical therapy may imply injuries have resolved.

Positive steps to take include:

  • Reporting the accident and seeking medical care promptly.
  • Following all recommended treatment plans closely.
  • Keeping records of medical expenses, lost wages, and impact on daily activities.
  • Avoiding discussing details or accepting blame with insurance adjusters.

Consult a Car Accident Attorney in California

The value of your potential injury claim depends on the unique circumstances of your accident and injuries. An experienced car accident lawyer in California can assess your case and provide guidance on what a reasonable settlement amount might be. They can handle negotiations with insurance companies to help maximize your compensation.

If you were injured in a car accident, contact the car accident attorneys at Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys today for a free consultation by calling (800) 4-THEWIN. We have successfully negotiated millions in settlements for injury victims throughout California. With no upfront fees and we only get paid if we win your case, you have nothing to lose by having us review your potential claim.

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