If you were an innocent victim of a drunk driving accident, you might feel various emotions, including anger, fear, pain, and stress. Suffering injuries in an accident causes financial worries, loss of work, and emotional pain to you and your loved ones. Fortunately, California permits you to recover compensation for your losses against the drunk driver.
The Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident in CA
While searching online, you may run across websites that purport to give the average settlement for a drunk driving accident in CA. Any attempt to provide an “average” settlement is misleading.
First, many settlement amounts are confidential, so there is no way to include all settlements in an average calculation.
Second, some settlements are worth a few thousand dollars, while others are for millions. This range can skew the average.
Finally, no claimed average settlement takes into consideration the specifics of a case. The only way to get an idea of what your case is worth is to speak to an experienced California drunk driving accident lawyer.
Severity of Injuries
Drunk driving accidents often cause catastrophic injuries. The more severe or permanent your injuries after an accident, the more you may receive in any drunk driving settlement. Those suffering complete paralysis and requiring lifetime medical treatment are entitled to higher compensation than those suffering relatively minor injuries, like a broken nose.
Permanent injuries may not cause only physical harm, but they may also result in severe emotional distress. For example, many people suffer disfigurement, burns, or other scars on visible parts of their bodies. These injuries may not cause continuous physical pain, but they can change your life and cause lifelong psychological harm.
Most at-fault drivers’ insurance policies payout drunk driving settlements. When the policy limit is higher, you may receive more compensation. However, insurance companies never want to pay out the maximum policy limits. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
What Compensation Can I Recover From My Injury Claim?
California law permits injured parties to recover two main types of damages–special damages and general damages.
Special damages (also known as economic damages) represent monetary losses directly related to your accident. Your attorney calculates these losses to a specific dollar amount. There are four main types of special damages:
- Medical—These damages include your medical expenses from the time right after your drunk driving accident through the future. Maintain an accurate record of all costs, including retaining copies of receipts and invoices.
- Loss of Income—If your injuries detrimentally affect your present and future income earning potential, California permits you to recover compensation for those losses. Pay stubs, tax returns, and other tangible evidence support proof of loss of income.
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses—Additional out-of-pocket expenses include those costs incurred by your injuries, including the cost of gas to travel to medical appointments and medication.
- Property Damage—If your drunk driving accident resulted in property damage, you deserve to recover compensation for these losses.
Your personal injury attorney uses tangible evidence to support your special damages award. Therefore, maintain an accurate record of your bills and invoices and keep these documents in a safe place to provide your lawyer.
General damages (also known as non-economic damages) represent personal losses that are more difficult to prove because they tend to be more subjective in nature. However, despite this, general damages may be greater than special damages. General damages include the emotional, physical, and psychological distress resulting from your injuries. Examples of general damages include the following:
- Pain and Suffering—Pain and suffering include the psychological and emotional distress caused by your accident.
- Emotional Distress—Emotional distress includes anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression related to your accident. A mental health professional assists in supporting your claim for emotional distress damages.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life—In some cases, injuries may make it difficult for you to enjoy previous activities. These activities may include your past hobbies, recreational activities, and other activities.
Calculating general damages requires the assistance of a personal injury attorney. General damages often provide injured victims with adequate financial support for their losses. You deserve to recover compensation after an accident. Don’t mistake moving forward with your injury claim without the assistance of a qualified lawyer.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases like drunk driving accidents is two years from the accident or injury in California. Although exceptions to the statute of limitations exist, these exceptions are rarely granted. Failure to file your claim within the specific time prohibits you from filing a claim later. It’s vital to file your lawsuit within a specified limitations period so you won’t be barred from pursuing and recovering the compensation you deserve.
At Silva Injury Law, we treat our clients like family. We understand the pain and stress you are experiencing and are with you every step of the way. We pursue cases with your best interests in mind so you can rest and focus on your recovery. Our team never charges injured victims any money upfront for their case. Our fee is a percentage of what we collect on your behalf, so we fight hard for every case. Contact Silva Injury Law for a free in-person or remote consultation to discuss your case today.