California car accident attorneys can help their clients recover compensation for the damages they suffered after other drivers have caused accidents and injured them. While an injured driver is likely to have many questions about their options for legal recourse after an accident, it is natural for the at-fault driver to worry about their financial liabilities to the victim of their actions. If you are being sued for a car accident, it is important to know what to expect.

Understanding Car Accident Claims

Every driver in the state must have auto insurance, and the state enforces the fault rule for resolving accidents. This means that your auto insurance policy must include liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage you inflict on others if you cause an accident. Your policy limits dictate how much of the resulting damages you can rely on your insurance to cover if you are responsible for causing an accident.

If the accident you caused results in severe injuries and expensive economic losses for the victim, your insurance may cover only a fraction of the total damages they can seek from you. They are likely to file a personal injury claim in this situation, seeking compensation for all the damages your insurance cannot cover. State law allows a victim broad flexibility in seeking compensation for their damages for most personal injuries.

Under California’s personal injury statutes, a plaintiff has the right to seek compensation for all economic damages the defendant’s insurance can’t cover. These may include vehicle repair or replacement costs, medical expenses, lost income, and lost future earning capacity if the victim suffered any permanently disabling injuries. They also have the right to claim pain and suffering compensation.

Being Sued for Car Accident: What Can They Take?

Limiting Your Financial Liability

If you are sued for a car accident, it is vital to have defense counsel you can trust to help minimize your financial liability to the victim. Unfortunately, paying for defense representation typically involves an hourly rate from your attorney, and this can amount to very expensive legal fees. Additionally, you could face liability for substantial damages if you have only a minimum coverage auto insurance policy that offers limited compensation to the victim.

If the other driver contributed to causing the accident, you can assert comparative fault to reduce your financial liability. You may be more at fault, but if the plaintiff is assigned a fault percentage, they will lose this percentage of their final case award. For example, if the plaintiff is claiming $100,000 in damages but they are 30% at fault, they lose $30,000 to reflect this.

When you are faced with a personal injury claim, settlement is preferable to litigation in most cases. If you know you are liable for the accident, you will likely face a worse outcome in court than if you could negotiate in a private settlement. You would pay more in attorney fees on top of this increased liability as well. It is also possible for a plaintiff to be willing to settle for less than you may expect in exchange for swift results.


Q: Can My Auto Insurance Cover My Damages After an Accident?

A: If you caused an accident with another driver, your personal auto insurance policy will be the first avenue of compensation for their damages. Every driver in the state is required to have at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and a minimum of $30,000 total accident liability coverage for bodily injuries to multiple people. A policy must also include at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage.

Q: What Is the Total Value of a Car Accident Claim?

A: When a driver causes an accident, they are liable for all resulting damages. It is possible for a victim to claim compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. The at-fault driver’s auto insurance may cover some of these damages, but any losses not covered by insurance can be sought through a personal injury claim. California car accident attorneys can estimate their clients’ case values.

Q: How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering Compensation?

A: If a plaintiff intends to sue for pain and suffering, state law does not enforce a specific formula they must use to calculate how much they can seek from the defendant. Your California car accident attorney may use the multiplier method if you suffered severe injuries, multiplying all your economic damages by a factor of one to five, or they may use a per diem calculation based on the time it takes for you to fully recover.

Q: Will a Driver Go to Jail for Causing an Accident?

A: The at-fault driver will face liability for the damages they caused to others in an accident, but they will face criminal prosecution only if they broke the law in causing the accident. Reckless driving and intoxicated driving are the most common ways for this to happen. Penalties for breaking the law will also increase dramatically if a defendant’s actions cause great bodily harm or death to another party.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim?

A: The time a car accident case could take to resolve largely depends on whether liability is clear and the extent of the resulting damages. When one driver is clearly at fault, and their insurance can cover the damages they caused, it is possible to resolve this type of case in a matter of a few weeks. If the victim files a personal injury claim, this will take much longer to resolve, from several weeks to several months.

The attorneys at Easton & Easton have years of experience representing clients in car accident cases. If you believe you have grounds for a claim against another driver, we can help you recover. If you have any pressing legal questions about your recent accident, contact us today for a free consultation with our California car accident attorneys.