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How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

car accident claim worthAfter suffering through a car crash, many people understand that they may qualify to seek compensation for the cost of their injuries, or that the insurance company is going to get involved before they can receive any form of recovery. However, anything past that, like figuring out what their injuries are actually worth or what process they will have to go through to collect damages, is something that most people only have a vague idea of. As a result, you may find yourself fighting with the insurance company trying to recover the money that you need while your medical bills continue to escalate.

No wonder most people usually sum up the whole claims process as challenging, stressful, and frustrating, but this does not have to happen to you. You do not have to go through this burden alone. This blog post will help you understand the claims process by explaining the steps of a car accident claim, what factors influence your car accident claim’s worth, and how a car accident lawyer can help you.

What Are the Steps in the Car Accident Claims Process?

If you have been injured in a car accident, you have a right to seek compensation for your financial losses and your pain and suffering. However, the bigger question becomes: “Will I recover enough compensation to cover my current losses and my future expenses?” To figure out the answer to this question, one of the first things that we need to take a look at is the claims process.

The primary steps involved in a car accident claims process include:

  • Notification letter: The process will begin with your attorney sending the insurance company an official letter informing it of your intent to make a claim. The insurance company will usually acknowledge the notice and begin its investigation into the claim, without admitting any liability on its part.
  • Investigation process: Your car accident attorney can then start gathering relevant evidence, documents, and other information pertaining to the accident, including your treatment records and medical history. Your attorney can also interview any witnesses present at the scene of the accident and try to obtain footage of the crash. This step can help your attorney determine what exactly happened to cause the accident, who caused your injuries, and the extent of the damage that you sustained. As the insurance company is completing this investigation process, your car accident attorney will usually want to wait to proceed until he or she knows the full extent of your medical injuries and improvements. This can help your attorney determine exactly how much compensation you need to cover all of your current medical bills and future medical treatments.
  • Negotiations: Once you send the insurance company your demand letter indicating the compensation you need, the insurance company will usually deny your demand and send a counteroffer for a much lower amount. At this point, your lawyer and the insurance company will go back and forth, trying to negotiate a settlement.
  • Settlement amount: If your attorney and the insurance company can reach a fair settlement, your lawyer can accept the amount on your behalf. If you cannot reach an agreement, then your attorney will most likely advise you to file a car accident lawsuit. Even though this may prove frustrating, as it extends the whole process, filing a lawsuit is often the only way to force an insurance company to offer a reasonable settlement.
  • Litigation: After you complete filing the complaint and going through the discovery process, the case will usually proceed to trial, where your attorney will present your case to a judge or jury.
  • Verdict: The judge or jury will ultimately deliver a judgment, which will mark the end of the trial, unless either party files an appeal.

State Insurance Policy

Different states issue different requirements for motor vehicle owners to maintain auto liability insurance. This specific insurance covers the injured party’s lost wages, car repairs, medical bills, and other expenses and damages, up to the limits of the at-fault driver’s specific policy.

The minimum liability coverage required in California are 15/30/5, which means the insurance will cover up to the following costs:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death of any individual
  • $30,000 for bodily liability or death of all individuals hurt in the accident
  • $5,000 for property damage (which includes stationary objects and the other vehicle)

Insurers also offer more significant liability insurance or optional coverage to increase the limits or provide additional coverage to the driver.

Two Main Categories of Insurance Claims

In California insurance claims are broken into two main categories:

  • First-party insurance claim: This is a claim that you make to your own insurance. For instance, this claim would apply to compensate you for your injuries where the other driver who caused the collision did not have insurance, or a claim to fix your car that is made under your personal auto collision coverage.
  • Third-party insurance claims: This claim is pursued against the insurance company of the business or individual who hurt you. For example, this would include a car accident claim for damages made against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

As indicated above, California law is quite complicated when it comes to insurance policies, and because many individuals do not understand third-party claims, many providers will try to use this inexperience or lack of knowledge against injured individuals, such as denying responsibility for their claims or offering low-ball settlement amounts. Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you go after these third-party claims and fight to maximize your compensation.

What Steps Should I Take to Maximize My Compensation?

There is no specific amount of money in California that a victim will receive for his or her injuries due to a car accident. Each claim is unique and decided on a case-by-case basis; however, taking specific steps after your car accident can help you seek maximum compensation and protect your legal rights.

Following a car accident, you should do the following:

  • Get medical assistance: Even if you do not think you have suffered critical damages, you still need to get a medical professional to examine your injuries. A doctor will know if you have any hidden injuries that are not yet apparent and provide you with the medical treatment you need. Besides, medical professionals can document all of your injuries from the accident, which will help when pursuing legal damages.
  • Collect evidence: Following an accident, it is vital to collect critical evidence to prove your claim. This evidence may include pictures and videos of the accident scene, including of your visible injuries, the vehicles involved in the accident, the weather at the time of the accident, any road hazards, and traffic signs located near the crash scene. Additionally, make sure to get all other involved driver’s information, including their name, address, contact information, insurance information, and driver’s license number.
  • Witness contact information: Having witness statements detailing your accident will also help your claim. Accordingly, if there is anyone in the area that witnessed your accident, make sure to get their name and contact information before they leave the scene.
  • Be careful when communicating with insurance companies: Following a car accident, insurance companies will want to talk to you. Even though it is important not to lie, you also need to remain wary of making any statements that may seem to indicate fault. Insurance companies want to make money, and they make this happen by minimizing how much they pay for injury claims. If you are talking to an insurance adjuster, make sure that you do not make any definite statements regarding the accident, such as taking any blame for the crash, as this may come back and hurt your claim down the road.
  • Seek legal help: You need to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible following your accident. These attorneys can start collecting crucial evidence that may help prove your claim and take over all communications with the insurance company, which will protect you from saying something that you will regret.

Specific Factors That Affect Compensation

In California, there are hundreds of factors that may affect the amount of damages you ultimately collect. To better gauge what recovery you should expect, you need to examine the following elements:

Victim’s Injuries and Resulting Losses

Usually, when evaluating damages, the more serious the injury, the greater the costs of medical treatment, and the higher the claim value. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case, especially if the injuries are hard to see, such as brain damage. That is why it is essential to have an attorney on your side who can show the significant effects that the accident has had on your life and prove through expert testimony the amount of damages that you’ve suffered.

Victim’s Background and Statements

An injured individual’s background will play a significant factor in determining how much compensation he or she should seek. For example, if you have any pre-existing injuries to a body part that was injured in a crash, you can expect the insurance company to argue that the car accident did not cause your injuries, as you already had the injury previously. In addition, any statements you made to the insurance company, doctors, or police officers may impact your case’s strength, especially if the statements are inconsistent.

At-Fault Party’s Background and Information

The at-fault driver’s background will also play a role in your recovery. Taking a look into the liable party’s previous criminal history and what he or she was doing at the time of the accident, such as drinking and driving or texting and driving, can provide the adjuster with fewer issues to dispute when negotiating a claim. This information, therefore, can result in the value of an injured individual’s claim increasing.

The Amount of Insurance Available

Usually, the realistic maximum amount of money that you can collect is the limit of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. However, if you want to pursue the at-fault driver for damages beyond that insurance coverage, you will need to initiate formal litigation.

Damages Available

If you suffered harm due to a car accident in California, you can recover three types of damages: (1) economic, (2) non-economic, and in some particular instances, (3) punitive damages.

  • Economic damages: These damages are measurable, quantifiable losses that result from your accident. They can include expenses such as your medical bills (past and future), lost wages (past and future), personal property damages, rehabilitative services costs, household services costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Non-economic damages: These damages are not easily quantifiable and are somewhat subjective losses. They include mental anguish, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive damages: Courts only award these damages in exceptional cases, where the defendant’s actions were so careless that the court wants to punish the defendant and deter others from committing the same act in the future.

Why You Need an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Handling Your Claim

As you can see, these car accident claims are quite complicated. Not only are there a lot of steps and factors involved that can affect your ultimate compensation, but the whole process is rather intense. However, when you have an experienced car accident attorney working with you, he or she can help you through these complex components and make sure you understand what’s happening every step of the way.

These attorneys can:

  • Collect crucial evidence that you need to prove your claim
  • Go after all potentially liable parties
  • Handle the whole legal process from start to finish, whether it’s negotiating with the insurance company or taking your case to trial
  • Ensure that critical motions are timely filed

If you or a family member was injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact a knowledgeable and skilled car accident lawyer today to fight on your behalf, protect your rights, and maximize your compensation.

How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

After suffering through a car crash, many people understand that they may qualify to seek compensation for the cost of their injuries, or that the insurance company is going to get involved before they can receive any form of recovery. However, anything past that, like figuring out what their injuries are actually worth or what process they will have to go through to collect damages, is something that most people only have a vague idea of. As a result, you may find yourself fighting with the insurance company trying to recover the money that you need while your medical bills continue to escalate.

No wonder most people usually sum up the whole claims process as challenging, stressful, and frustrating, but this does not have to happen to you. You do not have to go through this burden alone. This blog post will help you understand the claims process by explaining the steps of a car accident claim, what factors influence your car accident claim’s worth, and how a car accident lawyer can help you.

What Are the Steps in the Car Accident Claims Process?

If you have been injured in a car accident, you have a right to seek compensation for your financial losses and your pain and suffering. However, the bigger question becomes: “Will I recover enough compensation to cover my current losses and my future expenses?” To figure out the answer to this question, one of the first things that we need to take a look at is the claims process.

The primary steps involved in a car accident claims process include:

  • Notification letter: The process will begin with your attorney sending the insurance company an official letter informing it of your intent to make a claim. The insurance company will usually acknowledge the notice and begin its investigation into the claim, without admitting any liability on its part.
  • Investigation process: Your car accident attorney can then start gathering relevant evidence, documents, and other information pertaining to the accident, including your treatment records and medical history. Your attorney can also interview any witnesses present at the scene of the accident and try to obtain footage of the crash. This step can help your attorney determine what exactly happened to cause the accident, who caused your injuries, and the extent of the damage that you sustained. As the insurance company is completing this investigation process, your car accident attorney will usually want to wait to proceed until he or she knows the full extent of your medical injuries and improvements. This can help your attorney determine exactly how much compensation you need to cover all of your current medical bills and future medical treatments.
  • Negotiations: Once you send the insurance company your demand letter indicating the compensation you need, the insurance company will usually deny your demand and send a counteroffer for a much lower amount. At this point, your lawyer and the insurance company will go back and forth, trying to negotiate a settlement.
  • Settlement amount: If your attorney and the insurance company can reach a fair settlement, your lawyer can accept the amount on your behalf. If you cannot reach an agreement, then your attorney will most likely advise you to file a car accident lawsuit. Even though this may prove frustrating, as it extends the whole process, filing a lawsuit is often the only way to force an insurance company to offer a reasonable settlement.
  • Litigation: After you complete filing the complaint and going through the discovery process, the case will usually proceed to trial, where your attorney will present your case to a judge or jury.
  • Verdict: The judge or jury will ultimately deliver a judgment, which will mark the end of the trial, unless either party files an appeal.

State Insurance Policy

Different states issue different requirements for motor vehicle owners to maintain auto liability insurance. This specific insurance covers the injured party’s lost wages, car repairs, medical bills, and other expenses and damages, up to the limits of the at-fault driver’s specific policy.

The minimum liability coverage required in California are 15/30/5, which means the insurance will cover up to the following costs:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death of any individual
  • $30,000 for bodily liability or death of all individuals hurt in the accident
  • $5,000 for property damage (which includes stationary objects and the other vehicle)

Insurers also offer more significant liability insurance or optional coverage to increase the limits or provide additional coverage to the driver.

Two Main Categories of Insurance Claims

In California insurance claims are broken into two main categories:

  • First-party insurance claim: This is a claim that you make to your own insurance. For instance, this claim would apply to compensate you for your injuries where the other driver who caused the collision did not have insurance, or a claim to fix your car that is made under your personal auto collision coverage.
  • Third-party insurance claims: This claim is pursued against the insurance company of the business or individual who hurt you. For example, this would include a car accident claim for damages made against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

As indicated above, California law is quite complicated when it comes to insurance policies, and because many individuals do not understand third-party claims, many providers will try to use this inexperience or lack of knowledge against injured individuals, such as denying responsibility for their claims or offering low-ball settlement amounts. Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you go after these third-party claims and fight to maximize your compensation.

What Steps Should I Take to Maximize My Compensation?

There is no specific amount of money in California that a victim will receive for his or her injuries due to a car accident. Each claim is unique and decided on a case-by-case basis; however, taking specific steps after your car accident can help you seek maximum compensation and protect your legal rights.

Following a car accident, you should do the following:

  • Get medical assistance: Even if you do not think you have suffered critical damages, you still need to get a medical professional to examine your injuries. A doctor will know if you have any hidden injuries that are not yet apparent and provide you with the medical treatment you need. Besides, medical professionals can document all of your injuries from the accident, which will help when pursuing legal damages.
  • Collect evidence: Following an accident, it is vital to collect critical evidence to prove your claim. This evidence may include pictures and videos of the accident scene, including of your visible injuries, the vehicles involved in the accident, the weather at the time of the accident, any road hazards, and traffic signs located near the crash scene. Additionally, make sure to get all other involved driver’s information, including their name, address, contact information, insurance information, and driver’s license number.
  • Witness contact information: Having witness statements detailing your accident will also help your claim. Accordingly, if there is anyone in the area that witnessed your accident, make sure to get their name and contact information before they leave the scene.
  • Be careful when communicating with insurance companies: Following a car accident, insurance companies will want to talk to you. Even though it is important not to lie, you also need to remain wary of making any statements that may seem to indicate fault. Insurance companies want to make money, and they make this happen by minimizing how much they pay for injury claims. If you are talking to an insurance adjuster, make sure that you do not make any definite statements regarding the accident, such as taking any blame for the crash, as this may come back and hurt your claim down the road.
  • Seek legal help: You need to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible following your accident. These attorneys can start collecting crucial evidence that may help prove your claim and take over all communications with the insurance company, which will protect you from saying something that you will regret.

Specific Factors That Affect Compensation

In California, there are hundreds of factors that may affect the amount of damages you ultimately collect. To better gauge what recovery you should expect, you need to examine the following elements:

Victim’s Injuries and Resulting Losses

Usually, when evaluating damages, the more serious the injury, the greater the costs of medical treatment, and the higher the claim value. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case, especially if the injuries are hard to see, such as brain damage. That is why it is essential to have an attorney on your side who can show the significant effects that the accident has had on your life and prove through expert testimony the amount of damages that you’ve suffered.

Victim’s Background and Statements

An injured individual’s background will play a significant factor in determining how much compensation he or she should seek. For example, if you have any pre-existing injuries to a body part that was injured in a crash, you can expect the insurance company to argue that the car accident did not cause your injuries, as you already had the injury previously. In addition, any statements you made to the insurance company, doctors, or police officers may impact your case’s strength, especially if the statements are inconsistent.

At-Fault Party’s Background and Information

The at-fault driver’s background will also play a role in your recovery. Taking a look into the liable party’s previous criminal history and what he or she was doing at the time of the accident, such as drinking and driving or texting and driving, can provide the adjuster with fewer issues to dispute when negotiating a claim. This information, therefore, can result in the value of an injured individual’s claim increasing.

The Amount of Insurance Available

Usually, the realistic maximum amount of money that you can collect is the limit of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. However, if you want to pursue the at-fault driver for damages beyond that insurance coverage, you will need to initiate formal litigation.

Damages Available

If you suffered harm due to a car accident in California, you can recover three types of damages: (1) economic, (2) non-economic, and in some particular instances, (3) punitive damages.

  • Economic damages: These damages are measurable, quantifiable losses that result from your accident. They can include expenses such as your medical bills (past and future), lost wages (past and future), personal property damages, rehabilitative services costs, household services costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Non-economic damages: These damages are not easily quantifiable and are somewhat subjective losses. They include mental anguish, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive damages: Courts only award these damages in exceptional cases, where the defendant’s actions were so careless that the court wants to punish the defendant and deter others from committing the same act in the future.

Why You Need an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Handling Your Claim

As you can see, these car accident claims are quite complicated. Not only are there a lot of steps and factors involved that can affect your ultimate compensation, but the whole process is rather intense. However, when you have an experienced car accident attorney working with you, he or she can help you through these complex components and make sure you understand what’s happening every step of the way.

These attorneys can:

  • Collect crucial evidence that you need to prove your claim
  • Go after all potentially liable parties
  • Handle the whole legal process from start to finish, whether it’s negotiating with the insurance company or taking your case to trial
  • Ensure that critical motions are timely filed

If you or a family member was injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact a knowledgeable and skilled car accident lawyer today to fight on your behalf, protect your rights, and maximize your compensation.


Gomez Trial Attorneys
655 West Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619)-237-3490
Posted in: Auto Accidents
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