Average Personal Injury Settlement in California [2024 Updated]

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You never expected to be injured in an accident or even that someone you love was injured. As your medical bills may begin stacking up, you may be wondering what the average personal injury settlement in California is and if your case is eligible for compensation. 

Average Personal Injury Settlement in California

Incidents That Can Cause Personal Injuries

When someone is injured due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions, the injured party or their family may be able to pursue compensation for injuries and other damages. Some of the most common causes of personal injuries include:
  • Car and Truck Accidents: Accidents involving trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians can lead to injuries, both minor and severe. Many of these injuries can be life-changing, such as spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, or burns.
  • Slip and Fall Accidents: These accidents can happen due to wet floors, uneven surfaces, or a lack of adequate warning signs.
  • Medical Malpractice: Negligence by healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff, can result in injuries or even death. This may happen because of surgical errors, misdiagnoses, medication mistakes, or a failure to provide proper care.
  • Product Liability: Defective or dangerous products related to design flaws, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warnings may cause injuries.
  • Dog Bites: Owners can be held liable for injuries caused by their dogs. California has strict liability laws for dog bites, making owners responsible for damages in most cases.
  • Assault and Battery: Intentional violence, such as assault and battery, can cause personal injuries. In some cases, the injured person can pursue criminal charges and a civil claim for damages.
  • Recreational Accidents: Injuries can occur during recreational activities, such as sports, outdoor adventures, and even amusement park rides, especially if safety protocols are not followed.

Workplace Injuries

Accidents in the workplace happen, but these are usually handled through the workers’ compensation system. However, some are eligible for a personal injury claim due to negligence from the employer or coworkers. Workplace injuries can happen due to:

  • Slip and falls
  • Machinery and electrical accidents
  • Toxic exposure
  • Inadequate training
  • Failure to provide protective equipment
  • Lack of emergency preparedness

Economic, Non-Economic, and Punitive Damages

In personal injury cases, financial awards for people who have suffered injuries are categorized into economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Economic damages are meant to compensate for tangible financial losses. These are calculated based on the victim’s medical expenses, such as:

  • Medical treatment
  • Hospital stays
  • Medications
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Property damages

Non-economic damages can be hard to quantify monetarily, as they have no concrete cost. These damages compensate for the emotional and non-financial impact of the injury, such as:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium, or companionship and support

Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the injured person for their losses. Rather, they are used to punish the defendant for their particularly egregious actions and deter others from acting similarly. Punitive damages are pretty uncommon and are typically given when the defendant’s actions involve malice, fraud, or a willful disregard for the safety of others.

Settlement Calculations

Each Sacramento personal injury settlement will vary depending on each incident’s unique circumstances and the severity of the resulting injuries. Your compensation will typically include all medical bills related to the accident and recovery, compensation for lost wages, potential vocational retraining if you cannot return to your job, and then non-economic damages.

Your personal injury attorney can help you understand what your potential settlement could be based on the unique circumstances of your case, including liability, damages, and whether your claim will be successful or not. An experienced attorney can also effectively negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your lost wages, medical expenses, and non-economic damages.


Q: How Are Personal Injury Settlements Calculated in California?

A: Personal injury settlements are calculated by considering the economic and non-economic damages involved. Economic damages include lost wages, medical expenses, and property damage. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, the severity of the injuries, and loss of consortium. Since non-economic damages don’t have a clear financial value, there is no fixed formula for calculating them, and each case will consider unique factors and evidence.

Q: How Much Is Pain and Suffering Worth in California?

A: Determining the value of pain and suffering in a personal injury case is a subjective process, and there is no fixed formula for calculating these damages. This is because pain and suffering is considered a form of non-economic damages, meaning that they are not easily quantifiable in monetary terms. Instead, their value depends on the specific circumstances of each case.

Q: Is There a Time Limit for a Personal Injury Settlement in California?

A: Yes, California has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases. In most cases, a claim must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. If you don’t file within two years, you may lose the right to pursue a claim. You should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury.

Q: Can I Still Receive Compensation If I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?

A: Yes, in California, you may still be eligible to receive compensation for a personal injury claim, even if you were partially at fault for the accident. California follows the legal doctrine of comparative negligence or comparative fault. Under this system, your compensation is reduced based on the percentage of your fault for the incident.

Q: Can I Reopen a Settlement If My Injuries Worsen Over Time?

A: Once a settlement is finalized, it is typically binding, and the case has been closed. Reopening the case can be challenging, so it is important to thoroughly assess the extent of your injuries and future medical needs before agreeing to the settlement. A personal injury lawyer can address your specific situation and guide you on the feasibility of reopening your settlement.

Consult With Our California Personal Injury Lawyers

If you experienced injuries due to the negligence or actions of another person or business, you may be entitled to compensation from the responsible party. At Kreeger Law Firm, we understand how expensive and difficult personal injuries can be. Contact us today so we can help you get a better idea of what you are owed in your personal injury settlement.