9 Jul 2024,

How Much Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in California?

Have you been hurt in a California car accident caused by someone else’s recklessness? The Levinson Law Group is here to help you recover the compensation you need to heal and move forward. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial burdens you face after a car accident. Our team of dedicated California car accident attorneys, led by former insurance company attorney Gordon Levinson, has a proven track record of securing significant settlements for our clients. We’ll use our proven results, insider knowledge, and unwavering advocacy for our clients to lead the way in working for you. We accept cases on a contingent fee. That means that if there is no recovery in your case, you pay no fee. And in most cases, we even advance the costs. Call (760) 827-1700 today for a free consultation or email us.

How Much Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in California?

The average car accident settlement in California is anywhere from $300,000 to $6,450,000 – with an average settlement across this set of examples of $1.99 million, based on our own settlement data. How much compensation you get for a car accident settlement in California varies based on the unique circumstances of each situation and the severity of your injuries.

After being in a vehicular accident, are you worried about how much to expect from a car accident settlement? Alternatively, are you concerned that you aren’t going to receive anything at all from your insurance company Dealing with insurance companies is just one of the many stressful challenges a person can face in the wake of a vehicular accident. With the right legal counsel supporting you, however, you can get the solutions you need for your situation.

Did you know the average auto liability claim in the U.S. has over $3,231 in property damage?

The ISO reports that the average bodily injury claim is $17,024. Seeing the averages helps you understand how much you might expect from a car accident settlement. We say “might” because every car accident case is different. After representing over 3,500 Californians over the past decade, the California auto accident lawyers at Levinson Law Group understand this better than anyone else. Unfortunately, no mystical computer exists that magically sends you 100% accurate settlement numbers. However, this article provides you with a rough estimate of how to calculate an auto accident settlement for your car crash.

Typical California Car Accident Settlement Amounts with Injury

If you’re wondering how much to expect from a car accident settlement in California with injuries, based on our own settlement data, typical car accident settlement amounts with injury in California are between $380,000 to $2,750,000. Our team of California car accident settlement attorneys near you has won millions of dollars for our clients after they were injured in accidents across the state. We are dedicated to ensuing our clients and their families are taken care of after they’re injured – allowing them the time and funds to heal and recover properly and get back to their lives without side effects whenever possible.

On occasion, our clients are injured severely – and we must include their futures in our negotiations. Jobs may need to change, homes may need to be reconstructed to accommodate a wheelchair or other physical disability. We are dedicated to helping our clients in whatever way we can. How much compensation you get for a car accident settlement in California varies based on the unique circumstances of each situation and the severity of your injuries.

Here are just a few examples of California car accident settlements we’ve achieved for our clients recently:

Average car accident settlement in california$1,250,000 California Car Accident Injury Settlement Amount with Injury

T-Bone at Intersection Settlement – May 2023: Our client was involved in a car accident when another driver made an illegal left turn and caused a T-bone collision. The impact resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that required physical therapy, injections, and rehabilitation. The initial settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance company was $27,618.16. After further evaluation of the TBI’s long-term impact and potential future medical needs, we were able to negotiate a final settlement of $1,250,000.00.

$380,000 Car Accident Settlement Amount in California with Injury

Rear Ended On Freeway During Traffic – March 2024: While traveling on the freeway during heavy traffic, our client’s car was struck from behind by another vehicle. This rear-end collision resulted in a neck injury, causing chronic pain and migraines. Treatment included a series of Botox injections to manage the pain. The at-fault driver’s insurance company initially offered $23,400 to settle the claim. After presenting evidence of the chronic nature of the injury and the ongoing need for treatment, we were able to negotiate a final settlement of $380,000.

$2,750,000 Car Accident Settlement Amount with Injury in CA

Rear Ended on Freeway by Car While Riding Motorcycle – January 2024: While traveling on the freeway, our client was rear-ended by another vehicle while riding their motorcycle. This collision resulted in multiple injuries to the lower back, knee, and elbow. Treatment included surgery, rehabilitation, and physical therapy to address the long-term effects of the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company initially offered $15,400 to settle the claim. After presenting evidence of the severity of the injuries and the need for ongoing medical care, we were able to negotiate a final settlement of $2,750,000.

Typical California Car Accident Settlement Amounts With No Injury

Contrary to prevailing belief, you might still be eligible for a car accident settlement in California even if you weren’t injured. That being said, we do encourage everyone involved in a car accident to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible – as some injuries can manifest hours, days, or even weeks after an accident.

In the absence of physical injuries, settlements for typical automobile collisions hover around $5,300. This figure primarily encompasses reimbursement for property damage, including the costs associated with vehicle repairs or, in more severe cases, complete replacement. It’s worth noting that the actual settlement amounts can fluctuate based on various factors, such as the collision’s intensity and the comprehensive scope of damages incurred. While this average provides a general benchmark, each case’s unique circumstances ultimately determine the final compensation.

While documentation of injury can help in crease a settlement, there are still non-physical damages that you can recover if you’re in a car accident. You may be eligible to receive compensation for property damage to ensure your car is repaired or replaced if it’s totaled. If the other driver was even a fraction at fault (or fully at fault) their insurance must cover repair or replacement of your property. You may also be able to recover compensation for emotional distress.

Even without physical injuries, California allows claims for emotional distress caused by the accident. This could include fear, anxiety, or shock from the experience. To aid in negotiations after an accident where you weren’t injured, it’s especially important to document everything you can. Take pictures of the damage, gather witness statements if possible, and report the accident to the police. Write down what happened and how you were feeling after the accident in your own words as soon as possible. This will strengthen your car accident injury case when negotiating a settlement.

Is California a No Fault or at Fault State for Car Accidents?

California is an at-fault state for car accidents. This means who pays for medical bills after an accident depends on who caused the accident (fault).

  • At-fault System: California follows an at-fault system. The driver who is mostly responsible for the accident (liable party) is financially responsible for the other driver’s medical bills.
  • Your Insurance: If you caused the accident, you’ll likely use your own car insurance (liability coverage) to pay for the other driver’s medical expenses.
  • Their Insurance: If the other driver was at fault, you can file a claim with their insurance company to cover your medical bills.

California’s at-fault system, combined with their pure comparative fault law, makes understanding your settlement options particularly important. Put a former insurance company lawyer on your team by hiring the experts at Levinson Law Group. Contact us today for your free consultation.

California’s “Pure Comparative Fault” Law in Simple Terms

Imagine a pie representing total damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering). In most states, if you’re mostly at fault (like 99%), you get no pie (no compensation). But, California is different! Here, the pie is divided based on fault. So, even if you were mostly to blame (99%), you can still get a small slice (1%) of the pie (compensation).


  • You’re speeding and rear-end someone at a stoplight (mostly your fault).
  • You suffer a minor whiplash injury ($10,000 in medical bills).
  • The court finds you 99% at fault for the accident.

Under California’s law, you can still recover 1% of your damages:

  • 1% of $10,000 medical bills = $100

This might seem unfair, but it ensures everyone shares some responsibility for accidents, and injured people aren’t completely shut out from compensation.

The Claim Process for Car Accident Settlements in California:

Our number one piece of advice to maximize your settlement after a car accident in California is to get help from an attorney who knows the laws in California. Our team at Levinson Law Group assists clients in ensuring they are taken care of after an accident.

Our California car accident lawyers are familiar with all the steps that must be taken to prove fault, negotiate settlements, factor in pain and suffering, gather evidence, and protect your best interests. After an accident, it’s important to concentrate on getting better and making sure your vehicle is repaired.

Here are some more steps to the claims process after an accident:

  • Gather Evidence: Collect police reports, pictures, witness statements, and medical records to prove the other driver’s fault and the extent of your injuries.
  • Know Your Damages: This includes medical bills, lost wages, car repairs, pain and suffering, and future expenses. These calculations can be complex, as pain and suffering will likely include past and future numbers that would need to be realistically calculated.
  • Negotiation: Negotiation is the key piece in an accident insurance claim in California. You’ll not only need to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company, your own insurance if you are at fault. An attorney can help you determine a fair settlement value and handle the back-and-forth.

Key Points on Negotiation and Payouts:

  • No Minimum Settlement: There’s no set amount, so a strong case with good documentation is crucial.
  • Average Settlements: While settlements vary, they often fall below $10,000 [lawlinq.com].
  • Settlement Breakdown: Settlements cover economic damages (medical bills, lost wages) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
  • Payout Process: Once a settlement is agreed upon, the insurance company will issue a check within 30 days. Your lawyer will typically review and handle the disbursement of funds.

“Gordon goes above and beyond to help with your case…”

He explained to me in laymen terms what happened to my case and how it was settled. You can tell that he has your interest at heart. I am glad my husband chose this law firm for his auto accident claim. I highly recommend this law firm and will without a doubt recommend to my friends. Thanks a lot Gordon for your hard work! Truly appreciated! – Ella L. Read more client testimonials…

Understand Your Insurance Policy

Let’s start with the basics. Every driver needs car insurance. Since insurance is one of the biggest factors in the amount paid out in a settlement, we need to review some car insurance information. 

Most insurance companies provide two types of vehicle insurance:

  • Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)
  • Property Damage Liability

Bodily injury liability

BIL policies cover the medical expenses of those in the crash. BIL policies have two maximum coverage amounts. The 20/50 and 100/300 are standard coverage maximums. However, this varies somewhat by the insurance agency.

For example, 100/300 means the insurance company pays up to $100K of one person’s injuries and $300K for the occupants of both cars.

If you went to the hospital after another driver hit you, find out what their BIL maximum is.

Property damage liability

The third part of your policy coverage is for the property damage. If your policy is 100/300/50, the third number indicates the insurance company will cover up to $50,000 in damage to your car and other property.

Since the other driver is at-fault, your attorney needs to see what their max policy coverage is. Some drivers carry the minimum coverage possible to save on their monthly payments.

Unfortunately, minimum property coverage might not cover all your claims. You need your insurance company to cover the rest of the damages.

If the at-fault driver cannot cover all your vehicle repairs or does not have insurance, call our skilled California car accident attorneys immediately at (760) 642-5475.

What Is the Minimum Coverage Required for Auto Insurance in California?

In California, the minimum liability insurance requirement is 15/30/5. This means $15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person, and $5,000 for damage to property. We mentioned above how some drivers opt to buy the minimum insurance needed, but many times it makes more sense to carry additional coverage.

Some drivers’ policies only cover $5,000 in property damages. If a driver with no to little insurance hit your car, you could have a big problem. Kelly Blue Book averaged new car costs at $36,270. We discussed earlier how the average repair bill for a car crash is $3,231.

Based on these numbers and the severity of your accident, minimum coverage might not be enough to help you. Before you have a problem, add at least $100,000 in underinsurance coverage as part of your policy. For a few dollars a year, you could solve several headaches later.

What if the Driver is Uninsured?

California requires every policy carry uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage of 15/30. This way you are protected if an uninsured motorist hits you.

Consider upping your uninsured motorist coverage depending on the type of car you drive. If you drive a new car, then you probably spent more than $30,000. Therefore, it makes sense to have $100,000 or more in coverage if an uninsured driver hits you.

What Do You Need Right After an Accident

In the wake of a vehicular collision, you need two things: legal counsel and medical care. Moreover, you don’t need them necessarily in that order. Really, you need to know if you were injured and to what extent. You may wonder, “is that a bit of pain I feel in my lower back?” or something similar.

Accredited medical professionals following the American Medical Association’s approved modalities: that’s the best way to get comprehensive medical care. Perhaps paradoxically, it’s the kind of thing that legal counsel can help you to get.

Just because you’ve been injured in an accident, that might not mean that you can stay home from work. Of course, it’s hard to get to work without a car, so you need to get a rental car, or some other mode of transportation. Some people, unfortunately, aren’t able to return to their jobs after an accident, or at least, able to return to them in the same capacity they were before.

Figuring out who’s going to pay for your treatment, your injuries, how much insurance is going to cover versus what they won’t – these are all things that you need to know sooner as opposed to later. The proper legal counsel can assist.

Get Legal Help in Dealing With Multiple Parties

Dealing with the insurance company is something that practically everyone who has been in a vehicular collision has had to do. It’s not easy, for it can be stressful and time-consuming. That’s one of the many reasons that people avail themselves of legal counsel: so that they don’t have to deal with the insurance companies on their own (or at all).

In the wake of a car accident, injured people may find that they run into a lot of “red tape” right away: auto body workers who want money to fix the car, medical professionals who need to be paid as well, police officers with demands, and so much more. This is one more area where support is imperative: you want someone who’s been there before, who’s guided others through this process successfully, and can now do the same for you.

Every portion of the car accident case process can be difficult. For many, they’re facing challenges they never did before: auto body dealers, medical treatments, police, and so forth. The Levinson Law Group has supported clients for many years at every step, from the beginning through the successful completion.

If your car broke down in the middle of the road, the odds are low that you would hire someone who had never worked on a car before to fix it. Moreover, the odds are even lower that this novice would be able to tell you with any degree of certainty how much your repairs would cost, what you should expect, and so forth. Your vehicular collision legal case is similar. You need experienced attorneys who have dealt with these kinds of cases before. They can let you know what to expect from start to finish.

Additionally, proper legal counsel can help with other parties as well, particularly should they put up red tape that keeps you from getting what you want. Auto body shops, police, medical professionals, and others – attorneys can help there as well.

3 Steps to Settling an Auto Accident Claim

#1. Get medical records

If you or someone you love had an injury from a car crash, then you need as many documents from the hospital as possible to prove your case. Provide a detailed description of injuries from the accident with your doctor. Tell them all your symptoms because they can only record what you tell them.

Doctors might need the information to diagnose something that does not show up in standard tests. Your medical record is part of your damage claim. The more detail, the better it is for your case.

For many, one of the scariest parts of being in a vehicular collision is not knowing the extent of your injuries. Is it just shoulder pain, or do you have some kind of lasting nerve damage? Is the pain you feel in your upper body something that’s going to go away, or is it some kind of bone fracture that could potentially disrupt vital tissue and has to be dealt with immediately?

These are just some of the challenges you could be facing, which makes it all the more important that you go in front of a medical professional fast. A legal counsel can help you to do exactly that.

As every vehicular accident is different, so too is every kind of injury that a person could suffer. You may have had some vital tissue ruptured, or some bone fractured, or even something like radiating nerve-based pain. This is why it’s so important to get medical help quickly: so that you can receive American Medical Association-approved treatment modalities from experienced physicians. One way to do that some people might not initially realize is through a law firm. It’s not the only way a law firm can help. 

Note: follow your doctor’s instructions. Take the prescribed medication and get to your appointments. Otherwise, it could affect how much you can get from your car accident case.

#2. Get an experienced attorney quickly

Cases have deadlines, and insurance companies know this. They do everything in their power to delay your payout and keep it as low as possible. A trusted legal advisor negotiates with the insurance companies to get you the most from your settlement in a speedy time frame.

You should not talk to the insurance company directly. They record everything before speaking to you and can use anything you say in court.

Some folks tend to think of the insurance companies as someone who’s on their side, ready to help them in a pinch. Sadly, the truth is that’s rarely the case. Dealing with insurance companies after a vehicular accident can be more difficult than people realize. Really, it’s one more stressor on top of everything else that you have to deal with. When you hire the right attorney, they can actually deal with the insurance company for you. That way, you can have the peace of mind that comes from having one less thing to worry about. 

It is no surprise then how insurance industry surveys indicate how claims settled with an attorney get far more money than victims who represent themselves pro se (without an attorney). Attorneys spend years understanding their craft. Leverage their experience to improve the results of your case.

The Levinson Law Group focuses on one kind of case: vehicular accident cases. Those are the only kinds that they work on. That includes automobile vs. automobile as well as automobile vs. truck, automobile vs. motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, pedestrian, bus, etc. The only cases that the firm takes are those. That’s for a reason: expertise. By focusing on one thing and one thing alone, it allows them to be truly masterful at all aspects of vehicular accident cases.

#3. Resist the lowball offer

Most insurance companies make more money delaying the payout. Yet, they recognize how throwing a little cash early in the case might save them money later. They want to trap you into a lowball settlement before your lawyer gets involved.

If you speak to the insurance company, do NOT be rude or greedy. Insurance companies recognize you want their money and might smell fraud if you come off as greedy. Be respectful to the insurance company and their representatives.

Hopefully, you have a better idea of how much to expect from a car accident settlement. While every case is different, commonalities do exist.

Don’t Settle for Less After Your California Car Accident. Let The Levinson Law Group Fight for You.

Were you injured in a California car accident caused by someone else’s negligence? The Levinson Law Group is here to help you secure the compensation you deserve. Get a free consultation: call (760) 827-1700 or email us. Here’s why we’re the perfect team for your case:

  • Experienced California Car Accident Specialists: Our team has a proven track record of success in car accident settlements. We’ll handle every aspect of your case, from investigation to negotiation.
  • The Insider Advantage: Led by Gordon Levinson, a former insurance company attorney, we understand the tactics insurance companies use to undervalue claims. We won’t be fooled by their lowball offers.
  • Aggressive but Fair Negotiators: We fight relentlessly for our clients, ensuring you receive a settlement that reflects the full extent of your injuries.
  • Unwavering Dedication to Justice: We believe you shouldn’t be left holding the bag for someone else’s mistake. We’ll stand up to corporate lawyers and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Don’t settle for less. Contact us 24/7 today for a free consultation.