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California Personal Injury Settlement Amounts Examples [2024 Updated]

Personal injury settlements enable those who are injured because of another’s negligence to recover financially while taking the time they need to recover physically. Personal injuries can occur because of car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, medical malpractice, and many other causes. Many people who are injured want to know how much a claim would be worth. Looking at California personal injury settlement amounts examples and what influences the value of a settlement can help.

Compensation for a personal injury enables injured parties to recover financial and personal losses, helping them avoid significant financial hardship after an accident. By holding a negligent party liable through an insurance claim or civil personal injury claim, injured parties can regain some financial stability.

No two personal injury claims are the same, but being aware of the general award amounts for different injury types can help you get a better grasp on what a claim is worth. To fully understand the unique value of your own claim, you want to bring your case to a personal injury attorney. They can help you determine a fair amount for a settlement.

Examples of Personal Injury Settlements

There are several different types of personal injuries, based on the type of injury and the cause of the accident. Each of these types of personal injury claims results in different values of settlements. According to a 2005 study by the Bureau of Justice, personal injury claims resulted in some of the following settlement and verdict amounts:

  • Median award of $31,000 across all cases
  • Median award of $16,000 for car accident claims
  • Median award of $90,000 for premises liability claims
  • Average award of $679,000 for medical malpractice cases
  • Median award of $748,000 for product liability cases

Of course, a median amount cannot help you understand the specific value of your unique personal injury claim. There are many factors that affect what your claim might be worth.

What Influences the Value of a Personal Injury Claim?

Some of the biggest factors that affect the value of a personal injury claim include:

  1. Injury Severity: More serious injuries result in higher-value settlements. This is due to the current costs of treatment, the future complications that are more likely with serious injuries, and the more significant mental and physical pain resulting from these injuries. More serious injuries also require longer recovery periods and frequently result in permanent impairment or disability.
  2. Medical Bills: The past and future medical costs directly related to the injury are fully compensable by a personal injury claim. These include surgeries, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, medication, and mobility aids. The more significant these costs are, the higher a settlement should be.
  3. Amount of Evidence: To recover full damages in a settlement, you must be able to prove that another party or parties are fully liable. The more strong evidence that shows the other party was at fault or acted negligently, the easier it will be to negotiate a higher settlement or prove your case in court.
  4. Legal Representation: Personal injury attorneys typically charge a percentage of the final settlement, but total settlements obtained with the aid of an attorney are likely to be much higher than those without. Attorneys have significant experience in calculating all the economic and noneconomic costs of a claim so they can determine a truly fair settlement. They can also negotiate more effectively with an insurance provider.
  5. Income and Earning Capacity: The amount of time that you are unable to work, the income you would have earned during that time, and other factors will all affect how much a settlement can recover in lost wages.
  6. Level of Liability: If the at-fault party acted with extreme disregard for the safety of others, the court may award punitive damages. This increases the value of a settlement.
  7. Noneconomic Damages: Pain and suffering damages do not have a set financial value like other damages. Rather, they encompass the emotional and physical losses from an accident. These damages can significantly affect the value of the claim.


Q: How Much Can I Get for a Personal Injury Settlement in California?

A: The amount that you can get for a personal injury settlement will rely on many factors, including the damages you suffered, the skill of your attorney, and whether the case goes to court. Out-of-court settlements tend to yield less compensation, but they are also less costly, stressful, and time-consuming to obtain. If you can prove that the other party is fully at fault, you can hold them liable for the entirety of your damages, including medical bills and lost income.

Q: Do You Need a Lawyer for a Personal Injury Claim?

A: A lawyer can help your personal injury claim be more successful, and they can also secure greater compensation than you can get on your own. The aid of a lawyer isn’t required for you to file a personal injury claim, but it makes the process significantly easier.

An attorney can calculate a fair value for a settlement, which many people commonly underestimate. This can prevent you from accepting a settlement that will not cover your damages. Your attorney can also negotiate with an insurance provider on your behalf.

Q: How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in California?

A: Pain and suffering damages vary significantly from case to case in California. They are typically calculated based on the severity of your injuries and how much they will impact the rest of your life. There are several methods for calculating pain and suffering, including the multiplier formula and the per diem method. Pain and suffering damages include:

  • Emotional suffering
  • Physical pain
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Disability

California only caps these noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims.

Q: How Much Money Should I Ask for in a Settlement?

A: You should ask for the amount of money in a settlement that your claim is worth. This includes the cost of:

  • Past medical bills
  • Property damage repair or replacement costs
  • Future medical costs for continued care and expected complications
  • Lost wages during recovery
  • Lost earning capacity if you are unable to work again full-time
  • The impact that the injury will have on the rest of your life
  • Other noneconomic pain and suffering damages

An attorney is useful in determining the value of a fair settlement, as they have experience calculating future costs and noneconomic damages.

Finding the Right Personal Injury Attorney in California

At Heimanson & Wolf, LLP, we believe in fighting for the interests of those who are injured due to negligence. Contact our firm today to learn how we can help with your personal injury claim.

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