California car accidents are not uncommon and the consequences can be costly. As the economy continues to improve, California roadways continue to experience more traffic and congestion. Many drivers are also more distracted than ever by cell phones and other electronics. These factors have helped to create a dangerous environment for residents and tourists, alike. When an accident does happen the result can be serious. Fortunately, California law allows injured car accident victims to pursue compensation from at-fault parties.
The Cost of a California Car Accident
If you are injured in a California car accident you may be entitled to damages from the person responsible for your accident. The costs associated with a car accident can be extensive, and a personal injury claim for damages may be the best way to recover those costs. In 2013, the average cost of a personal injury claim following a car accident was $15,443. If you are severely injured in a California car accident, or if your car suffers significant damage, you will probably be faced with bills and expenses that exceed this amount. Filing a personal injury claim for damages against the party responsible for causing the accident can help to cover these (and other) accident-related costs.
Comparative Fault in California Car Accidents
While you are able to pursue compensation after a car accident, your ability to recover may be limited if you were also responsible for the crash. In California, car accident personal injury claims are generally based on the theory that one party’s negligence caused another party’s injury. California, however, follows the theory of comparative fault. This means that your ability to recover compensation could be limited if you were partly responsible for the crash that caused your injuries. Generally, your ability to recover compensation is reduced by the percentage of the accident that is determined to be your fault.
For example, let’s say that you are involved in a California car accident. If it is determined that you were 20% at fault for the crash your ability to recover compensation will be reduced by 20%. So, if you suffer damages in the amount of $50,000 you will be entitled to recover no more than $40,000 from the driver who hit you.
Recovering Damages For a California Car Accident
What kind of compensation can California car accident victims recover through a personal injury claim? Generally, California allows victims to seek both compensatory and non-compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to cover economic and financial costs and expenses you suffer because of an accident. Compensatory damages can help to cover the costs of medical expenses such as ambulance fees, surgery, lab tests, prescriptions, rehabilitation. These damages can also compensate victims for lost wages and reduced earning capacity.
non-compensatory damages, on the other hand, are awarded to cover subjective injuries and harms. There is no standard or routine way to calculate non-compensatory damages. Rather, the amount of an award will depend on the facts and circumstances of each specific case. non-compensatory damages can help to cover the costs of pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
Hiring an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney
The best way to maximize the compensation you recover after a car accident is to hire an experienced California personal injury attorney to handle your case. Insurance companies are not on your side and will not have your best interest at heart.
Instead, they will attempt to capitalize on your recent trauma and take advantage of your lack of legal expertise. They will do whatever they can to get you to agree to a lowball offer. Hiring a personal injury attorney from Citywide Law Group to represent you helps to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that insurance companies will not prevent you from recovering the compensation you may desperately need.