Car Accident Settlement In California: How Does It Work And What’s The Timeline?

In 2018, over 90% of household in the United States own a car. That means we rely on cars more than ever. That also means that the likelihood of getting into a car accident in Los Angeles or anywhere else across California is extremely high given the increased traffic density on the roads.
More often than not, Californians tend to make mistakes when trying to recover compensation for their injuries and damages, largely because of their lack of knowledge of how the motor vehicle accident settlement process works in California and what the timeline is.
Fear not – we brought our Los Angeles car accident attorney from the Compass Law Group, LLP to spell out everything you need to know about the car accident settlement process in the Golden State.

Do I need to report a car accident in Los Angeles?

Depends on the circumstances of your car crash. Under state laws in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California, you must report a car accident if:

  • Property damages exceeds $750 or
  • Anyone has been killed or injured (even minor injuries count).

While California laws allow you to let your insurance agent to report the accident on your behalf, we strongly recommend against it. First of all, your insurance company is not on your side, though it will surely make it look like it is your closest friend to win your trust.
But do not be mistaken: do not trust those fraudulent and unfair insurance companies in California. Instead, let your Los Angeles car accident lawyer report the car accident on your behalf by using the Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (Form SR-1).

What if I do not report a car accident?

Your failure to report a car accident that meets the above-mentioned criteria can result in a misdemeanor hit-and-run offense under California Vehicle Code § 20002 if there was property damage only, or a felony hit-and-run offense under California Vehicle Code § 20001 if someone has been injured or killed as a result of the collision.
Under state laws in California, you have two years to file a personal injury claim after a car accident, and three years to seek compensation for property damage.

How to settle a car accident in California?

If you have been in a motor vehicle collision in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, you are probably wondering, “How do car accident settlements work?”
Our Los Angeles car accident attorney explains that in order to reach settlement with the other driver, you, your attorney, the other party, and his/her attorney will have to participate in multiple settlement conferences that will end either in a settlement to award damages or proceed to trial.
California laws recognize a settlement as a legal agreement that prevents you from suing the other driver through a pending lawsuit. The biggest benefits of a car accident settlement is (a) seeking compensation faster than through litigation, and (b) you have complete control over the outcome (in trial, the judge has control over the outcome).

What is the average car accident settlement in California?

To determine the average car accident settlement, people often multiply the cost of their medical bills by three times. But this is hardly an accurate way to calculate the value of your settlement. A far better way is to seek legal advice of a skilled car accident attorney who will thoroughly review your case and take into account all factors to determine the value of settlement, including but not limited to:

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Property damage repairs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • And others

Contact the Compass Law Group, LLP, to order a free case evaluation. Let our experienced attorneys determine the value of your car accident claim and help you win the settlement or verdict for you.


Find out if you have a case in a few minutes, call us at (310) 289-7126

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