California Car Accident Damages: What Can You Recover?
Get Legal Help Today
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
UPDATED: Feb 10, 2020
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.
Seeking treatment for your injuries is obviously the most important aspect of being in a car accident. However, recovering enough damages to pay for that treatment is equally important. So, what damages can you recover when you’re involved in a California car accident?
Recoverable damages in California
According to Matthew Nezhad, a California attorney whose practice is dedicated to handling personal injury claims and cases for injury victims throughout California, “You can recover for anything that was expended by you out of pocket. So, if there are any medical expenses as a result of the accident, if there are any lost wages, loss of earnings, if there’s loss of property, rental bills, loss of use of property, anything that you would have to spend out of pocket to be made whole, you could recover those economic damages. You might also be able to recover non-economic damages which have to do with the pain and suffering, emotional and mental anguish and things of that nature.”
When are punitive damages available?
Nezhad says that punitive damages are available in certain circumstances. He explained:
Generally speaking, there really wouldn’t be punitive damages in an auto accident case unless there was some egregious conduct by the other person, such as the person was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, if there was an exhibition of speed or something to that extent. However, if the facts do show those types of conduct, then yes, you would have the ability to go after them for punitive damages.
That’s definitely not something you should do on your own, though, according to Nezhad. “Many people believe that the insurance company will just deal with it. However, damages in auto accident cases are very complex and you definitely need to talk to an attorney, even if you don’t want to hire them. Talk to the attorney, let him give you some sound information so that you could make a decision whether you need one or not. California auto accident attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay the attorney until the matter is settled or resolved – and you don’t pay anything out of pocket.”