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What Can I Sue For In A Car Accident Lawsuit?

Category: Automobile/Car Accidents

Car accidents can result in significant physical, emotional, and financial hardships for those involved. When someone is injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another driver, they may be entitled to pursue the following types of compensation through a Fresno car accident lawsuit

Compensatory Damages 

Compensatory damages are meant to compensate a victim for their current and future losses and can be broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages: Actual financial losses, such as:

  • Medical bills: emergency visits, hospital stays, physical therapy, outpatient procedures, prescription medications, etc.
  • In-home medical care
  • Nursing home or rehabilitation costs
  • Medical treatment
  • Property repair or replacement (e.g., vehicle and any personal belongings damaged in the crash)
  • Lost wages from missed work
  • Diminished earning capacity (if you are no longer able to work at the same level as before the collision)

Non-Economic Damages: Compensation for subjective losses, for instance:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 
  • Loss of opportunity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Physical impairment (e.g., disability, loss of a limb)
  • Disfigurement 
  • Unjust hardship
  • Punitive Damages

The second type of damages awarded in some car accident cases is punitive damages. However, this type of compensation is only reserved for cases involving defendants (at-fault parties) who behaved in a malicious or egregious manner. Punitive damages are a form of punishment and also meant to deter others from committing similar harmful acts. 

How Much Compensation Can I Get After a Car Accident? 

The amount of compensation you can recover following a car accident hinges on several factors, including:

Liability and Case Strength

Liability, or fault, is pivotal in determining the value of your claim. Strong evidence supporting another party’s fault can significantly enhance your claim’s worth. Conversely, if evidence suggests your partial or full responsibility, your compensation may be reduced. In California, courts adhere to pure comparative negligence, where your percentage of fault impacts the amount you recover. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 and found 40% at fault, you can recover 60% of your award ($60,000). 


The severity of your injuries and losses directly influences your claim’s value. Considerations include:

  • The exacerbation of pre-existing injuries.
  • The permanence of your injuries.
  • The extent, type, and cost of medical treatment.
  • Anticipated future medical expenses.
  • Any gaps in medical treatment post-accident and their rationale.
  • Lost wages.
  • Ability to return to work.
  • Impairment of daily activities.
  • Overall impact on your life.
  • Suffering endured by your spouse or children.

Insurance Policy Limits

The defendant’s insurance policy limits can also be instrumental in assessing your case’s potential value. In accident claims, compensation is often constrained by the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. If your damages surpass these limits, the insurance company is not obligated to cover the excess amount.

Speak To an Attorney Today

If you have been involved in an accident, arrange a free consultation with an experienced Fresno personal injury attorney. They can help ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.