Average Truck Accident Settlement in California [2024 Updated]

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We rely on truck drivers every day to safely transport much-needed products across the country. No one expects an accident but when they do happen, the consequences can be severe and life-altering. If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident, you may be wondering what the average truck accident settlement in California is and whether you have a case. 

Average Truck Accident Settlement in California

Economic, Non-Economic, and Punitive Damages

In California, victims of truck accidents may be entitled to economic, non-economic, and, in some cases, punitive damages.

Economic damages are the quantifiable financial losses that the victim suffered due to the truck accident, including medical expenses such as:

  • Hospital bills
  • Surgery costs
  • Medication
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages are subjective and are awarded to compensate for non-financial losses, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium or support or family members
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Punitive damages are intended to punish the party deemed at fault if their behavior was particularly egregious. It is meant to deter others from doing similar actions. Punitive damages are typically only awarded in cases of malice, oppression, or fraud.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Since California is a large state with extensive transportation infrastructure and busy ports, there are many trucks on the roads. Due to this, there are many common causes of truck accidents, such as:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Improper lane changes
  • Distracted driving
  • Poor weather or road conditions
  • Mechanical failures
  • Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks
  • Inexperienced or inadequately trained drivers
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Failure to obey traffic signals
  • Tailgating
  • Construction zones

Establishing liability in a truck driving accident can be complex. It involves gathering evidence and proving that negligence or wrongful actions of one or more parties led to the accident. Consulting with a personal injury attorney experienced in truck accident cases can help guide you through the legal process, collect additional evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and work to ensure that you get the compensation you are owed.

Calculating Your Settlement

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

Calculating non-economic damages is more subjective than calculating economic damages. There is no precise formula, and the amount awarded is often determined through negotiations. Several methods are commonly used, such as:

Multiplier Method

This is a common approach, where economic damages are multiplied by a certain factor to determine non-economic damages. The multiplier is usually a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the injuries and their impact on the victim’s life.

Per Diem (Daily Rate) Method

Under this method, a daily rate is assigned for the pain and suffering that the victim endures. The total is calculated by multiplying the daily rate by the number of days the victim has suffered due to the injuries.

Comparison to Economic Damages

Some settlements may involve a direct comparison of non-economic damages to economic damages. For example, the non-economic damages may be set at a certain percentage of the total economic damages.

Injury Severity

The severity of the injuries and their impact on the victim’s life can significantly affect the determination of non-economic damages. More severe injuries that result in temporary or permanent disabilities generally lead to higher non-economic damage compensation.

Other methods that can be used are expert testimony, the credibility and sympathy of the victim, and legal precedent. California does not have a statutory cap on non-economic damages in personal injury cases.


Q: How Much Are Most Truck Accident Settlements?

A: The amount of a truck accident settlement can vary widely, as it depends on factors such as the severity of:

  • Injuries
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

The settlement can also be influenced by the negotiation skills of the victim’s attorney and any court decisions.

Q: What Role Does the Trucking Company Have in a Personal Injury Claim After a Truck Accident?

A: Since the trucking company is usually the employer of the truck driver involved in the accident, the company may be held vicariously liable for the actions of its employees while performing their job duties. This is especially so if negligence, such as inadequate maintenance or driver training, contributed to the crash.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Settle a Truck Accident Personal Injury Claim?

A: The time it takes to settle a truck accident claim varies. It depends on factors such as:

  • The complexity of the case
  • The severity of the injuries
  • Negotiations with insurance companies
  • Whether the case goes to trial

While some truck accident personal injury claims may be resolved within a few months, others can take a year or more, especially if they go to trial.

Q: Are There Time Limits for Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Truck Accident?

A: Yes, there are time limits, known as statutes of limitations, for filing personal injury claims. In California, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is generally two years from the date of the accident. If you don’t file within this timeframe, you may lose the right to pursue legal action and seek compensation.

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

A: Yes, in California, you may still be eligible for compensation in a personal injury claim, even if you are found partially at fault for the accident. California follows a comparative negligence system or comparative fault. Under this system, your compensation may be reduced by the percentage that you are deemed at fault for the accident.

Reach Out to Our Reliable Truck Accident Attorneys About Your Settlement

To better understand what your settlement may be in the aftermath of a truck accident, reach out to the dedicated team at Kreeger Law Firm. We are here to help hold the parties responsible for your injuries and recover the damages you are owed.