Nearly 4,300 people were injured and killed in Sacramento car accidents in 2021, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. Compensation would be available through a successful car accident lawsuit for those motorists, motorcyclists, and others who suffered injury because of someone else’s carelessness. 

However, considerable differences exist between what one injured person receives and another. If you find yourself numbered among those hurt in a Sacramento car accident, you deserve to know the answer to the question, “How much can someone sue for a car accident?” Unfortunately, the answer is, “It depends.”

California Car Accident Damages Explained

When you file a car accident lawsuit, you allege that the person who caused the crash owes you monetary damages. Generally, you seek two types of damages through your case:

Economic Damages

First, you ask a court to award you economic damages to address bills, invoices, and expenses you have had to incur or will reasonably have to pay in the future. These damages cover things like:

  • Emergency medical care and transport
  • Your hospital stay and any procedures you needed
  • Wages you did not earn because you could not work
  • Occupational or other therapy you required to regain functioning

Economic damages also address the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. There is no limit to the amount of economic damages you can recover in a Sacramento car accident lawsuit.

Non-Economic Damages

Next, through your lawsuit, you can also seek compensation for non-economic harm you suffered. This includes having to experience physical pain, anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life. Although these damages can be more difficult to ascertain, you are nonetheless entitled to seek monetary damages to address them.

California does not limit your ability to recover non-economic damages except in medical malpractice cases. Assembly Bill 35, which was recently signed into law, limits your non-economic damages in those cases to $250,000.

What A California Car Accident Claim Is Worth

The greater the harm you suffer in your car accident, the greater the amount of damages you can expect to receive. This is because both your financial expenses and physical suffering will be greater than in a minor fender-bender. 

Other factors that go into determining how much you can recover through your car accident lawsuit include the following:

  • How well-documented your injuries, suffering, and expenses are
  • How much the other driver is at fault for causing the accident
  • Whether you decide to settle your suit or take your case to trial
  • If the at-fault driver’s actions were intentional or reckless, or just merely careless

Having an experienced car accident lawyer who assists you throughout your case can also impact the size of your recovery. 

The National Safety Council estimates the economic costs of car accidents based on the severity of the injuries involved. For example, a crash with:

  • Disabling injuries results in approximately $155,000 in economic costs
  • Obvious injuries needing treatment results in about $40,000 in economic costs
  • Possible pain or injuries lead to about $24,000 in expenses
  • No obvious injuries can still cost $6,700 in economic damages

These numbers do not include any damages you would be entitled to receive for your pain and suffering.

Contact Sette Law Today For Assistance After A Car Accident

A car accident attorney discussing a case with a client.

Even when another party is clearly responsible for your car accident, it can still be a challenge to obtain the economic and non-economic damages you deserve. Sette Law is committed to pursuing justice on behalf of our Sacramento car accident clients, including ensuring they have the financial compensation they need to address their injuries and harm.

Call Sette Law for a free consultation if you have been injured in a car accident.


Cal. Assemb. B. 35 (2022-2023).

California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). OTS Crash Rankings Results.

National Safety Council. “Guide to Calculating Costs.”