What is a Bodily Injury?Following a personal injury accident, you may suffer a myriad of injuries to the body that can count as a bodily injury. A bodily injury is just what it seems to be: a severe injury that physically affects the victim's body. According to Florida Statute 316.027, a serious bodily injury is an injury that creates a physical condition that can cause a risk of death, disfigurement, or impairment of the functioning of a bodily member or organ. The following are some bodily injuries you can suffer following a car accident or other traumatic accident:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Back and neck injuries
- Severe burns, cuts, and abrasions
Bodily Injuries After a Car AccidentVictims can suffer bodily injuries after many traumatic incidents, including pedestrian, bicycle, and slip and fall accidents. However, car accidents are among the most common accidents that result in bodily injuries. More than three million Americans annually receive injuries during car accidents on Florida roadways. These accidents can have lasting negative impacts on victims' lives. Many individuals involved in motor vehicle collisions sustain serious physical injuries as a result. If you suffered a bodily injury after a car accident, you could pursue compensation from a liable party's insurance company.
What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury?Many people use the terms "personal injury" and "bodily injury" interchangeably. This tends to lead to considerable confusion—especially for car accident victims who are already struggling to understand which steps they should take after a car accident. Personal injury falls under the umbrella of civil law. Personal injury law is the area of law that allows injured parties to pursue damages for losses sustained due to an accident or similar incident. The term "personal injury" refers to any injury during an accident or incident. This can include an injury to the body but also encompass illnesses and suffering caused by a personal injury accident. Bodily injury, on the other hand, involves a more limited scope. Bodily injuries are particular injuries—caused by another party—that occur on a person's body during an accident. Many criminal cases rely on bodily injury over personal injury when it comes time to claim damages. Outside of criminal law, bodily injury tends to appear most often in insurance contexts. Drivers can even hold bodily injury liability insurance, compensating victims when the driver that holds it causes injury. Some states require this coverage.
Bodily Injury Liability InsuranceFlorida does not require drivers to hold bodily injury liability insurance to drive automobiles legally. In some cases, if a driver has been convicted of a DUI, they may be held responsible for acquiring bodily injury insurance before driving again. Drivers who elect to drive without bodily injury liability coverage should be aware of their legal responsibilities in the case of an accident. Florida maintains a legal guideline known as the Financial Responsibility Law. This law mandates that drivers hold two types of insurance: personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability. Bodily injury coverage is not required. Individuals without bodily injury must provide financial coverage of AT LEAST $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. This amount is posted as a bond following an accident. It's important to recognize that many cases involving bodily injury incur extremely high costs. The above amounts are often insufficient to cover the medical expenses and legal fees associated with such cases.
Is Bodily Injury Insurance the Same as Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance?Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage provides insurance coverage to a car accident victim involved in a collision with a motorist without insurance coverage. It can also provide coverage if the at-fault party's insurance coverage is insufficient to pay for the damages they caused. However, underinsured or uninsured motorist insurance is separate from bodily injury insurance. It covers personal injury damages that the policyholder suffers during an accident if another party is liable. Bodily injury insurance covers personal injury damages that the non-policyholder suffers during an accident in which the policyholder is liable.
Bodily Injury Insurance Damage CoverageBodily injury liability coverage is designed to help accident victims account for a range of expenses. These may involve costs like medical expenses and legal fees. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and may receive compensation through bodily injury insurance, damages may include:
- Medical costs: This refers to past, present, and future medical costs acquired as a result of the accident and any injuries sustained during it. Follow-up visits to doctors, ongoing physical therapy, and even emergency medical transport from the accident scene can all qualify.
- Lost wages or income: Many car accidents prove severe enough that victims must take time off work to recover. Some individuals hurt during crashes are even prevented from returning to the workforce altogether. Issues like these result in lost wages, decreased income, and lost earning potential, which a victim can recover in court
- Legal fees: You'll need a trustworthy and experienced personal injury attorney by your side as you begin the process of claiming bodily injury. Legal professionals collect fees to pay for their services. Other steps of the process, like filing certain paperwork, may also involve additional small fees. All of these are payable via bodily injury liability.
The Benefits of Holding Bodily Injury Auto InsuranceOther drivers' negligence or recklessness causes most car accidents. Some crashes, however, are almost unavoidable. Unpredictable or dangerous road and weather conditions often cause numerous accidents that would not occur otherwise. Bodily injury insurance can benefit a driver responsible for an unavoidable car accident. When a driver obtains bodily injury auto insurance, they also obtain protection against financial liability. Due to bodily injury liability coverage paying for others' expenses as the result of an accident you are found liable for, it helps protect you from financial liability. The insurance will pay for victims' expenses so you don't have to.
Steps to Take Before Filing Your Bodily Injury ClaimVictims who have sustained injuries during a car accident should take a few key steps before worrying about a bodily injury claim. The most important step is to seek appropriate medical attention immediately after the accident. Some injuries necessitate immediate transport to a medical facility or on-the-spot treatment. Even if you received care in one of these ways, you should still take the initiative to visit your primary care physician. A visit to the doctor should be any victim's first step—regardless of whether they've already received medical treatment. Those who were cleared to leave the scene of their accident should still update their doctor about the incident. Some injuries even fail to present themselves for some time after a crash. A visit to the doctor is a good way to ensure that no injuries go unnoticed. If you've already received medical care, the doctor's visit will allow you to bring your physician up to speed and confirm your current health. These victims, too, are at risk of delayed complications. Some injuries or other negative impacts of the crash may even have been overlooked in the hospital or by first responders. Another important reason to ensure that you receive medical care following your accident lies in bodily injury insurance regulations. You must have ample medical records available to claim bodily injury and seek compensation for damages. Make sure your doctor takes thorough notes on your injuries' severity.
How to File a Bodily Injury ClaimFollowing a car accident, if you suffered an injury to the body, you can file a car accident claim to pursue damages associated with your bodily injury. You can file the claim with the at-fault party's insurance company if they either acted negligently or with intent to harm. If they breached the duty of care all drivers owe each other on the road, you could file a claim to potentially receive compensation for bodily injury damages. The following are the steps you should take to file a bodily injury claim:
Retain a Seasoned AttorneyYou'll want a car accident attorney to help guide you through the complex legal process as you begin your pursuit of compensation. A lawyer will be able to assist you in gathering and maintaining crucial records and documents. Many legal professionals even partner with experts from other industries (like doctors and automotive authorities) to strengthen clients' cases. Make sure that you feel like you can trust the car accident attorney that you select. Pursuing compensation after a car accident can be long and confusing. Hiring a bodily injury lawyer you believe and trust can help protect your rights and help make the process as straightforward as possible. You don't want to put your trust in an ineffective lawyer that can mess up the process and damage your ability to receive compensation for bodily injury damages. Make sure to do your research, consult online reviews, and take advantage of free consultations to ensure you are putting your trust in someone with in-depth knowledge of bodily injury law that can put your claim in the best position to succeed.
Prepare Documentation of Treatment for Bodily InjuryThe at-fault driver's insurance company's primary concern will lie in the validity of your claim. If you want a chance at receiving financial compensation for your losses, you'll need to prove that you sustained the injuries you claim from the car accident and that you've received appropriate treatment. Successful documentation often proves a turning point in insurance claims. An identical claim may produce two very different settlements depending on the documentation. Try to ensure that the medical professionals who treat your injuries keep detailed records of your well-being from day one. Collect medical records as you receive them, file them neatly and logically, and consider making copies to simplify the process. Medical bills, doctor reports, and diagnostic testing results, such as X-rays, radiology, and other testing results, are all documents that you should keep track of. Some of the most notable information you'll need to substantiate via documentation includes:
- The date of your injury
- The type of incident that caused your injury (i.e. a motor vehicle accident)
- Your prognosis and length of treatment
- Required medications
- Scarring or disability resulting from your injury
- Ongoing pain management
- Emotional distress
- Potential for future injury
File Your Car Accident Claim for Bodily Injury DamagesOnce you have collected all important records and have the accident details straight, it's time to file the car accident claim with the at-fault party's insurance company. You and your lawyer can draft a demand letter, letting the insurance company know the details of the accident and what damages you are pursuing. Upon filing the car accident claim, the at-fault party's insurance company will employ insurance adjusters to comb over every aspect of the claim before determining the degree of compensation that they should offer. Your bodily injury attorney should be able to offer a window of time during which you might expect to hear back from the adjuster. These time frames vary by state and policy.
What If Your Bodily Injury Claim Is Denied?Insurance companies care about saving money instead of paying it out to victims. Insurance companies often deny claims for bodily injury through any means possible. Common reasons include insurance premium payment delays and fraudulent injury claims. If your claim has been denied, you will receive legal notice of the denial. The insurance company must provide a detailed explanation of which coverage was denied and why. If it turns out that your claim's denial was unlawful, your bodily injury lawyer will be able to help you approach the scenario again and work toward recovering damages. Your claim's direction from here depends upon what your bodily injury lawyer determines as the best course of action. They may need to begin legal proceedings on your behalf by taking the claim to court.
Factors That Influence Bodily Injury Claim PayoutMany factors can influence the payout for a bodily injury claim. Some of these concepts are simple enough. Higher medical costs, for example, tend to be associated with higher bodily injury settlements. This isn't always the case—but it's a good place for curious bodily injury victims to start. Don't forget that the claims adjuster will have to believe that all of the medical costs are warranted and make sense; you may not receive compensation for everything. The location of your accident can change your payout, too. "Venue" is one of many factors that adjusters consider during the settlement process. Some venues are known for awarding large verdicts in bodily injury cases, with adjusters more likely to offer higher settlements for claims involving venues like these. This helps prevent you from filing a lawsuit and walking away with even more cash.
Bodily Injury Lawyers Can Help You Recover Damages from a Car AccidentKnowledgeable legal professionals have the resources, education, and experience required to help their clients make informed decisions. They understand that the time after a car accident can be turbulent and frightening—and they want to help. All too many bodily injury victims suffer in silence while negligent parties escape responsibility for their actions. The only way to ensure that you receive the monetary assistance you deserve is to pursue your bodily injury insurance claim through legal means. Good car accident lawyers can help represent your best interests and protect your rights throughout a litany of legal proceedings and bureaucratic processes. Vehicle accident victims deserve assistance in fighting for their rights and obtaining compensation for their experiences. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to another driver's recklessness or negligence, a bodily injury attorney can help set you on the right path.
Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Bodily Injury ClaimThe bodily injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group can assist with the process of your claim. Our attorneys place an emphasis on personalized attention by focusing on constant communication and representing your best interests in the claims process. We know all the tactics an insurance company will employ to limit your settlement and will work diligently to prevent them from getting away without paying your bodily injury damages. At Dolman Law Group, we offer our legal services on a contingency basis, meaning we don't get paid until you do. We also offer free consultations to let potential clients see how our bodily injury attorneys can specifically help them pursue compensation. For a free consultation, contact us at (727) 451-6900 or leave a message on our online contact page. Bradenton Office 6703 14th Street West Suite 207 Bradenton, FL 34207 Phone: (941) 961-8841