From errands and daily commuting to travel and sightseeing, the more than 26 million licensed drivers in California spend a lot of time on the road. Unfortunately, even the most cautious motorist risks a collision each time he or she gets into a vehicle. According to the CDC, about 3 million people experience crash-related injuries in the U.S. each year.

A severe auto accident can upend a life in an instant. In addition to costs related to medical care and forced time away from work, recovering from a debilitating injury may take months or even years, putting individuals and their families under immense emotional strain. That makes it important that Californians know what their options are for receiving needed compensation.

What types of damages are available?

State law requires that all drivers have minimum liability coverage of $15,000 for injury or death of a single individual and $30,000 for two or more people. However, as an “at fault” state, California requires that injured individuals show that the other party was responsible for the accident to claim compensation.

Damages that a driver may seek to recover include both economic and non-economic costs. Examples of economic damages include present and future medical expenses, lost wages and/or loss of earning ability and property damage. Non-economic compensation may include restitution for pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, disfigurement and even the loss of a loving relationship with a spouse.

Unfortunately, California’s relatively low minimum requirements for motorist liability coverage may not be enough to cover costs in cases of extreme injury. In these instances, an individual may need to bring a suit against the driver who was at fault to receive needed funds for recovery. Consulting with an attorney experienced in auto injury cases may help those struggling to get the financial help they need to get their life back on track.