What Type of Damages Can You Recover After a Car Accident in California? 2024

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Car accidents are a leading cause of accidental injuries throughout the state, and if another driver has injured you in an accident, it is natural to wonder what type of compensation you may be able to recover. Under the state’s fault rule, the driver responsible for causing an accident is liable for all resulting damages. An auto accident lawyer in Sacramento, CA, is your ideal asset for maximizing your recovery in this situation.
What Type of Damages Can You Recover After a Car Accident in California?

Determining the Compensation You Can Claim for a Car Accident in Sacramento

The first legal challenge the victim of a car accident faces is proving fault for the incident. Before they can recover any compensation, they will need to identify the driver who caused the accident and prove exactly how they caused it. Once fault is established, the next challenge the victim faces is proving the full extent of the damages the at-fault driver caused.

Some damages from a car accident are immediately apparent, such as vehicle repair costs and the medical expenses the victim incurs for treatment of their injuries. However, if you were recently injured in an accident someone else caused, you may be able to claim far more than you initially expected. With the help of an experienced auto accident lawyer in Sacramento, your recovery could potentially include:

  • Vehicle repair costs and any other property damage resulting from the accident, such as the cost of any damaged personal effects that were inside of your vehicle.
  • Medical treatment costs. You can claim repayment of not only all immediate medical expenses but also the cost of any ongoing future treatment you may need to reach maximum medical improvement from your injuries. Many car accidents result in severe injuries that need specific ongoing care.
  • Lost wages. When you are unable to work while you are recovering from your injuries, the defendant who caused the accident is liable for the income you cannot earn during this time.
  • Lost future earnings. Unfortunately, some car accident victims are left permanently disabled by these incidents. If this applies to your situation and you will be unable to work at all in the future due to the harm the defendant caused, they are also liable for the future income you are no longer able to earn. Your legal team can help accurately calculate these projected future lost wages and add them to your case.
  • Pain and suffering compensation. California law allows a plaintiff in a personal injury case to recover compensation for physical pain and emotional distress a defendant inflicted with their actions. There is no limit to this aspect of your recovery, so you could potentially obtain more pain and suffering compensation than the compensation you receive for all your other claimed damages.
  • Punitive damages. These are not directly claimed by a plaintiff and are instead awarded at the discretion of the court, typically in response to a defendant inflicting injuries through illegal misconduct. As the name suggests, punitive damages aim to punish the defendant for exceeding the extent of typical negligence.

Ultimately, you may be entitled to a far greater recovery than you expect, and the right attorney can be invaluable for helping you maximize your case award. An auto accident attorney in Sacramento can provide guidance and support through all your efforts to recover from an accident another driver caused.


Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

A: You face two time limits when it comes to recovering compensation for a car accident. First is the time limit for filing an auto insurance claim, which may be only a few days after your accident. Second is the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim, which is two years from the date the accident occurred. It’s vital to find an auto accident lawyer in Sacramento whom you can trust as soon as possible to ensure you meet these deadlines.

Q: How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

A: If any other party is responsible for your recent car accident, you have the right to seek compensation for all the damages resulting from their actions. The total value of your case could include your property damage, lost income, and medical expenses, and you can also claim compensation for your projected future damages. Once you factor in pain and suffering compensation, you may be surprised to learn your case’s true potential value.

Q: How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering Compensation in a Car Accident Case?

A: Attorneys can generally use either the multiplier method or the per diem method to calculate pain and suffering compensation for their clients. The multiplier method involves adding the total of the plaintiff’s economic damages and then multiplying this amount by a factor of one to five, and the per diem method seeks compensation based on the number of days it takes the plaintiff to reach maximum recovery from their injuries.

Q: How Much Can I Receive in Punitive Damages for a Car Accident?

A: Punitive damages are not directly claimed by a plaintiff and are instead awarded at the discretion of a judge. The amount a plaintiff receives in punitive damages depends on the scope and severity of their actions and their overall financial situation. When a defendant has caused a car accident through illegal actions like intoxicated or reckless driving, they are likely to owe punitive damages alongside the other civil damages they owe to the plaintiff.

Q: What Will It Cost to Hire an Auto Accident Attorney in Sacramento?

A: Most attorneys representing car accident victims accept these cases on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee agreement, the client pays a fee to their attorney only after their attorney wins the case, and the contingency fee is a percentage of the final case award. There is no fee if the attorney cannot obtain compensation for the client, so there is no financial risk in hiring an attorney for a car accident case under a contingency fee agreement. Kreeger Law Firm has years of professional experience helping car accident victims recover their damages. We know the various challenges you could face as you seek compensation for an accident someone else caused, and we want to help you through this difficult situation as efficiently as possible. If you’re ready to learn how an auto accident attorney in Sacramento can help you recover, contact Kreeger Law Firm and schedule a consultation with our team.