What Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident in California?

car accident damage

After a car accident, it often takes time for the financial damage to become clear. When the dust settles, you may have to face expenses for everything from replacing your car to perhaps even an ambulance ride and hospital stay. Your insurer might help with the vehicle, but your coverage could also fall short. If the other party in the accident exhibited clear negligence that led to the incident, you might be able to file a suit to recover damages from them directly. In California, there are two types of damages to know about regarding car accidents — “economic” and “non-economic” damages.

What Are Economic Damages?

“Economic damages” are often the primary type of damages sought by the injured party in a car accident. These are the more tangible expenses incurred because of the incident. For example, the loss of your property, including the car and valuables inside, would be considered economic damage. Likewise, expenses related to your medical treatment and any assistive devices necessary because of the accident are also economic damages that you can seek to recover. In general, if it is easy to assign a clear monetary value to something, it probably falls into the class of economic damages.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

The less tangible and more unclearly defined impacts of the accident are “non-economic damages.” Pain and suffering is one of the most common types of non-economic damages sought in car accident cases. “Loss of consortium,” a special legal phrase referring to the loss of a close relationship with a loved one, is also a non-economic damage. Putting an appropriate and attainable value on these damages is difficult but possible with legal assistance.

Is There a Limit on Damages?

California does not impose any statutory limit on the number of damages an injured party can recover in a car accident suit. However, California does use a fault law that allows blame to be distributed between the responsible parties. As a result, you can have a court-ordered award reduced by a percentage linked to how “at fault” the jury deems you in the accident. The risk of a reduction is always present, but a well-presented case with solid evidence can help you avoid this frustrating legal landmine.

Beware of the Statute of Limitations

While there is no limit on how much you could potentially recover in an accident suit, there is a time limit on when you can file. If you want to make claims related to injuries, you must file suit within two years of the accident (for most personal injury cases). However, if your crash involved a government entity or a public employee such as a municipal police officer, the time limit drops to just six months (note: statute of limitations may vary, so please seek legal counsel immediately). You should speak to a car accident attorney promptly following an accident to protect your rights.

What to Do if You’ve Been in an Accident

Because of California’s fault law structure, it is crucial to have experienced legal representation when you seek damages based on allegations that the other driver was at fault. Aside from documenting the accident and any injuries, you should also consider contacting a proven team of attorneys to evaluate and ultimately handle your case as it proceeds.
At HHJ Trial Attorneys, we can guide you through this process with a clear view of potential outcomes. With a wealth of experience in calculating damages and working within the courtroom, we have the ideal skillset for those seeking damages after a car accident. Learn more when you schedule a free consultation today.

Testimonial from Arely, a car accident victim

Having or going through any accident isn’t easy, rest assured Elliot Jung is the best attorney. I had a rough car accident in the freeway, the person on my right lost control of their driving and swerved into me pushing both of us into the fast lane and shoulder, where the person in the fast lane collided into my left side (my car was completely wrecked and totaled). It was such a scary situation, and while I was in the E.R. I had many questions and doubts over my whole situation.
Honestly, if you have or are going through something similar, look no further Elliot Jung is the best. Found and contact Elliot on the internet; Meet him in their downtown office, he was friendly, professional, and best of all straight forward! It was refreshing to meet an attorney that wasn’t simply trying to put their desires first or to sweet talk you into nonsense. Elliot was patient and listened to all my questions and concerns at the end he showed more concern for my health and overall situation. Elliot will work hard to get the best settlement for you, he did for me! At least on my end, everything went smoothly and easy, and while it took a couple months for the case to be settled Elliot was great in always communicating and updating me on the case.
Seriously, don’t be afraid to contact this HHJ firm, they have shown that they do care about you as an individual and will try their best to help you.

Related resources: 5 Possible Reasons Why Your Car Accident Insurance Claim Was Denied

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