How much you should settle for after a car accident depends on the combined value of your damages. According to California Civil Code (CIV) §1431.2, compensation for the following tangible and intangible damages may be available in a personal injury case:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage and income loss
- Property damage or total destruction
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional trauma
Valuing your car accident claim is a unique undertaking because your claim may depend on your injuries, income, required medical treatments, and the length of your recovery time.
A car accident lawyer may be able to help you calculate the total of these expenses and losses to determine how much your car accident claim may be worth.
The Deadline for a Personal Injury Lawsuit in California
Arriving at a definitive monetary value for your settlement can take time. While your lawyer waits for your accumulated bills and expenses to come in, they may take steps to safeguard your potential lawsuit. To start, your lawyer may ensure your personal injury lawsuit is filed in time to comply with the statute of limitations.
According to California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in California.
If the statute of limitations expires and your lawsuit has not been filed, you could lose your right to sue. With enough notice, your lawyer may be able to file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations and avoid this costly consequence.
Resolving Your Claim with a Financial Settlement
In order to assign a total value to your compensation claim, your lawyer may calculate the value of each individual line item. To facilitate this process, your lawyer might ask for:
- Your full range of medical bills including in-patient and out-patient care
- Proof of the amount of income you lost and are anticipating losing
- Proof of the cost to repair your damaged car or to replace your totaled car
After your lawyer has received the receipts, check stubs, repair bills, and other documents that prove these costs, they may go on to assign a value to the intangible portions of your accident claim.
The Value of Your Car Accident Report as Evidence in Your Case
According to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), when a car accident results in injuries, fatalities, or more than $1,000 in damages, filing a car accident report is mandatory. Details and checkboxes in your car accident report may help identify the cause and contributing factors that led to your injuries.
Your lawyer may look for the following information in your car accident report:
- Points of impact and damage areas
- Primary collision factors and assignation of fault
- Type of collision (head-on, rear-end, sideswipe, etc.)
- Driver movements that preceded the collision
- Alcohol or drug use or misuse
Provide your lawyer with a copy of your car accident report right away. If you need help accessing a copy of the report, let a member of your legal team know as soon as possible.
Commonly Reported Car Accident Causes
Defining the cause of your car accident is critical to proving the negligence your compensation claim may require. According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the five most commonly broken traffic laws which cause car accidents include:
- Following too closely to stop safely
- Failing to obey red signal lights
- Driving under the influence
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Misjudging or unsafely navigating left turns
Your legal team might be able to determine if your car accident was caused by one of these factors or some other form of driver negligence.
Let Our Team Help You with Your Car Accident Claim
If you were injured in a car accident in Los Angeles, Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices may be able to represent you. When we work together on your case, a car accident lawyer from our firm can estimate the value of your damages and advise you on how much you should settle for after your car accident. We can also handle settlement negotiations on your behalf and take your case to trial if necessary.
For a free, no-obligation case review with a member of our team, call Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices today at (888) 522-6291. If you qualify, we may be able to represent you on a contingency-fee-basis.