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What Is Considered Bodily Injury in a Car Accident?

Car crash

Car accidents are events we all hope to avoid, but they can happen unexpectedly, leaving us dealing with the aftermath. When it comes to these accidents, you might have come across the term ‘bodily injury’ in discussions about injury claims.

Bodily injury refers to physical harm suffered by individuals involved in a car accident. It can range from minor cuts, bruises, fractures, and internal injuries. It includes harm to muscles, bones, and organs. Therefore, always seek medical attention and consult with professionals to assess and document any bodily injuries sustained in a car accident.

What Types of Bodily Injuries Can Occur in a Car Accident?

Car accidents can result in various bodily injuries, including whiplash, fractures, cuts, and bruises. More severe incidents may cause spinal injuries, head trauma, or internal organ damage. Hence, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly after an accident, as some injuries may not be immediately visible but can have lasting effects.

Here are some of the common types of bodily injuries that can occur in a car accident:

1. Cuts and Abrasions

Cuts and Abrasions are usually caused by broken glass, sharp objects, or even the deployment of airbags. While cuts and abrasions might appear minor, they can still lead to infections and scarring.

2. Bruises

Impact on the vehicle’s interior or other objects can cause bruises. It occurs when blood vessels under the skin break, resulting in discoloration and tenderness.

3. Broken Bones

During a car accident, the force of a collision may cause fractures in various bones, such as arms, legs, ribs, or the collarbone. Depending on the severity, broken bones may require casts, surgery, or extensive rehabilitation.

4. Whiplash

A sudden, forceful neck and head movement can result in whiplash. This injury affects the neck muscles and ligaments and can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

5. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Head injuries are a major concern in car accidents. Additionally, TBIs range from mild concussions to severe injuries that may cause cognitive impairment, memory issues, and emotional changes.

6. Spinal Cord Injuries

These injuries can cause partial or complete immobility based on the location and severity of the damage. Moreover, spinal cord injuries can have life-altering consequences, affecting mobility and sensation.

7. Internal Injuries

Collision during a car accident can also cause internal organs to be bruised, lacerated, or otherwise injured. Thus, these injuries might not be immediately apparent and can lead to health problems if not treated.

8. Soft Tissue Injuries

Muscles, tendons, and ligaments can be pulled or torn due to the forces exerted during an accident. These injuries may lead to swelling, pain, and limited range of motion.

9. Burns

In accidents involving fires or explosions, individuals might suffer burn injuries. However, these can vary in severity, from minor burns to those requiring extensive medical treatment.

It’s important to note that some injuries may not show their results immediately after a car accident. Therefore, seeking medical attention promptly, even if you believe your injuries are minor, is crucial.

What Does Bodily Injury Insurance Cover?

Bodily injury coverage typically covers medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages for individuals injured in an accident for which you are at fault. Moreover, it provides financial protection for injuries sustained by others, helping to address their immediate and ongoing medical needs.

Therefore, here’s a breakdown of what bodily injury coverage typically covers:

Medical Expenses

Bodily injury coverage helps cover the medical bills of those injured in an accident for which you are found liable. This includes hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, prescription medications, and other necessary medical treatments.

Rehabilitation Costs

If the injured parties require ongoing rehabilitation, such as physical or occupational therapy, bodily injury coverage can help cover these expenses.

Pain and Suffering

In some cases, bodily injury coverage may compensate for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental suffering experienced by the injured individuals.

Lost Wages

If the victim cannot work due to the injuries, bodily injury coverage may help compensate for the income they’ve lost during their recovery period.

Legal Expenses

If the injured parties decide to file a lawsuit against you for their injuries, bodily injury coverage can help cover legal expenses, such as attorney fees and court costs.

Funeral Costs

If you have a tragic accident that causes death, the bodily injury coverage can assist in covering the funeral and burial expenses of the deceased.

Keep in mind that bodily injury coverage will only protect you financially if you cause harm to others. It does not cover your own medical expenses or damage to your own vehicle.

How Does a Bodily Injury Claim Work?

property damage in an auto accident

Report the accident to your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurer to initiate a bodily injury claim. Provide necessary documentation, such as medical records and accident details. The insurers negotiate a settlement based on liability and damages. If a resolution isn’t reached, legal action may be considered.

It’s important to understand how a bodily injury liability claim works to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Thus, here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

1. Identify the Responsible Party

If you’re injured in an accident caused by someone else, you’ll be dealing with a “Third Party Claim.” This means you’ll file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

2. Gather Essential Documentation

To build a strong case, collect critical evidence, including:

  • A copy of the police report detailing the accident.
  • Pictures of the accident location and any injuries you’ve sustained.
  • Detailed medical bills outlining your expenses.
  • Summaries of medical care and findings from examinations.
  • Receipts for all related expenses incurred due to the accident.
  • Documentation verifying lost wages due to time away from work.

3. Notify the Insurance Company

Contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to initiate the bodily injury claims process. Furthermore, provide them with the necessary information and evidence to support your claim.

4. Evaluation and Negotiation

The insurance company will review your claim, check the evidence you provide, and may offer a settlement based on their assessment. However, initial offers might not fully cover your damages.

5. Consult with Legal Experts

If negotiations become complex or you believe you’re not being offered a fair settlement, consider seeking advice from a car accident lawyer. Thus, they can provide legal guidance and advocate for your best interests.

6. Settlement or Litigation

After negotiation, you can either reach an agreement on a settlement that adequately compensates you or, if necessary, pursue litigation by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

7. Resolution

If a settlement is reached, you’ll get compensation for your medical expenditures, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. However, a judge or jury will determine the outcome if your case goes to court.

How Do the Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Limitations Work?

Bodily injury liability coverage has set limits, determining the maximum amount your insurance will pay for a covered claim. It typically includes a per-person limit and a per-accident limit. These limits define the financial extent of coverage, influencing how much compensation is available for individual injuries or the entire accident. Hence, these limits are expressed in a two-number format, such as “25/50.”

Here’s what these numbers signify:

Per Person Limit

The first number indicates the maximum coverage available for a single individual injured in the accident. For example, in a policy with a bodily injury limit of 25, the insurance will cover up to $25,000 for the medical expenses and damages of one person harmed in the accident.

Per Accident Limit

The second number represents the total coverage available for the entire accident. For instance, if the per-accident limit is 50 in a 25/50 policy, the insurance will cover up to $50,000 in combined claims for all injuries resulting from the accident.

In addition to the commonly known split limit, there’s also a less common alternative – the Combined Single Limit (CSL). Unlike the split limit, CSL offers a single coverage limit for the entire accident, regardless of the number of injured individuals. However, this type of limit tends to be pricier, and not all insurance companies provide this option.

It’s crucial to assess your insurance needs and select bodily injury liability limits that align with your financial situation and potential risks. Moreover, adequate bodily injury liability insurance coverage ensures you’re well-prepared for unforeseen accidents and the substantial expenses they entail.

What are the Minimum Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Requirements in New York?

In New York, the state mandates specific minimum bodily injury liability insurance coverage requirements. These minimums are set to ensure financial responsibility in the event of an accident:

  1. $25,000 for Bodily Injury (Non-Fatal): This covers medical expenses and related costs for one person injured in a single accident.
  2. $50,000 for Death of One Person: In the unfortunate event of a fatality resulting from an accident, this coverage compensates for the associated costs.
  3. $50,000 for Bodily Injury (Non-Fatal) of Two or More Persons: This extends coverage for medical expenses and related costs for multiple individuals injured in a single accident.
  4. $100,000 for Death of Two or More Persons: In cases where two or more individuals suffer fatal injuries in a single accident, this coverage provides compensation for their associated costs.
  5. $10,000 for Property Damage: This covers expenses related to the damage or harm caused to the property of others in a single accident.

While these are the state-mandated minimums, it’s essential to consider your personal circumstances and potential financial liabilities. In some cases, opting for coverage beyond the minimum requirements may be advisable to ensure adequate protection in a serious accident. Thus, consulting with an insurance professional can help determine the appropriate coverage based on your specific needs and potential risks.

How Much Are Car Accident Injuries Worth?

Determining the value of car accident injuries involves various factors. The Insurance Information Institute reports an average bodily injury claim of $20,235, highlighting the compensation typically sought for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Additionally, a survey by Martindale-Nolo indicates car accident victims received an average of $23,900 for claims settled between 2015 and 2020. These figures underscore settlement variability and the importance of considering individual circumstances, the severity of injuries, and associated costs. It’s essential to consult with legal and insurance professionals to assess the specific details of each case.

What Is the Difference Between Bodily and Personal Injury?

The terms bodily injury and personal injury are commonly used interchangeably, but they have distinct legal meanings.

Bodily injury refers to physical injuries or damage to a person’s body, such as injuries sustained in an accident like cuts, fractures, or bruises.

On the other hand, personal injury has a broader legal connotation. It includes bodily injury but extends beyond physical harm to encompass a range of injuries. Personal injury in a legal context refers to harm that affects not only the body but also the mind or emotions. This can include psychological distress, mental anguish, or reputational harm, as seen in cases of defamation.

Therefore, understanding these distinctions is crucial when dealing with legal matters, such as insurance claims or lawsuits, where precise terminology can impact the scope and outcome of a case.

Contact Uptown Injury Car Accident Lawyer Today!

Securing the right legal support is essential if you’ve been in an auto accident. Our dedicated car accident lawyers are here to stand by your side, ensuring you’re well-represented and receive the maximum compensation you deserve. Don’t settle for less – let us fight for you.

Why Choose Uptown Injury Law Firm?

  • Proven Track Record: With an impressive 100% success rate, Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, has consistently delivered the best outcomes for our clients. Additionally, we boast a history of securing substantial verdicts and settlements to ensure you’re fairly compensated for your rightful claims.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Our car accident attorneys work tirelessly to make sure your settlement compensates both your immediate and future damages stemming from the accident. Your well-being is our top priority.
  • Free Case Evaluation: If you’re wondering what your case is worth, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. By doing so, we’ll meticulously assess the details of your situation and provide you with a clear and comprehensive understanding of the options available to you.

So what are you waiting for? Schedule a free consultation now or call our office toll-free at 917-540-8728. We’re always here to guide you through every step of the way.

FAQs

What Is Considered Bodily Injury in a Car Crash?

Bodily injury refers to physical harm suffered by individuals in a car accident. This encompasses a range of injuries such as cuts, bruises, broken bones, whiplash, and more serious ailments like traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord damage.

How Much Bodily Injury Coverage Should I Get?

While meeting your state’s minimum requirement is necessary, purchasing more coverage is advisable based on your net worth and driving frequency. A slightly higher investment can save significant costs in case of an at-fault accident.

What Is Bodily Injury Liability Coverage?

Bodily injury liability coverage addresses financial obligations resulting from an accident you’re responsible for. In such cases, this coverage handles crucial aspects like medical expenses, lost wages or income, and legal fees for affected individuals, thus providing vital protection on the road.

What Is the Average Bodily Injury Coverage?

In 2019, the average bodily injury claim was $18,417, as reported by the Insurance Services Office Inc. (ISO). This figure underscores the potential financial implications of accidents. Conversely, it’s crucial to note that while bodily injury coverage addresses third-party injuries, considering Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is equally important. PIP covers medical expenses and related costs for you and your passengers, offering a broader scope of protection beyond bodily injury coverage alone.

How to File a Personal Injury Claim?

To file a personal injury claim, take the following steps: document the incident, gather evidence, seek medical attention, identify witnesses, report the incident to relevant authorities, and consult with a personal injury attorney. Moreover, notify the responsible party’s insurance company, provide necessary documentation to support your claim, and initiate the claims process.

What Is Serious Bodily Injury?

Serious bodily injury represents a heightened level of harm compared to general bodily injury. It involves a significant risk of death, obvious disfigurement, or the loss or impairment of a bodily function or organ. Unlike minor or superficial injuries, serious bodily injury has substantial and lasting consequences. Hence, examples include severe fractures, traumatic brain injuries, or injuries requiring extensive medical intervention.

What Is an Example of Bodily Injury Coverage?

If you’re at fault in an accident where someone sustains injuries requiring medical treatment, your bodily injury coverage can help pay for their medical bills, rehabilitation, and potentially even legal expenses.

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Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
WRITTEN AND REVIEWED BY
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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