After somebody is injured in an accident, have they suffered a personal injury or a bodily injury? These are two different legal and insurance terms and concepts. Although people might think that personal injury and bodily injury are the same thing, they’re distinguishable.
Why Do We Have Personal Injury Law?
The purpose of the law of personal injury is to provide physically injured victims of accidents or social wrongs with compensation for the damages that they suffered and will suffer in the future. It’s intended to make them whole again. A person might suffer damages to their reputation as a result of being libeled or slandered, but with those types of cases, there’s no actual physical injury. Under the law of personal injury, damage to a person’s reputation might still be compensable.
Nearly all personal injury cases are brought pursuant to the law of negligence. In order to prove negligence, the person claiming personal injury must prove certain elements. If he or she fails to prove any single element of negligence isn’t proved, the case fails in its entirety. Those elements follow:
- The person who is alleged to have been negligent owed the claimant a duty of care.
- That person breached their duty of care.
- The breach of duty caused an accident that the claimant was involved in.
- The accident was the proximate cause of the claimant’s injuries.
- The claimant suffered legally recognized damages.
Nearly all personal injury and bodily injury claims and lawsuits are the result of a person’s alleged negligence.
Compensation for Personal Injury Damages
Damages generally consist of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages might consist of medical bills, lost earnings or out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages might be pain and suffering or any permanent disfigurement or disability. Economic damages are calculated with a high level of certainty. Although lawyers, insurance companies and juries are required to do so every day, it’s difficult to arrive at a number for non-economic damages.
Bodily Injury and Compensation for It
Bodily injury coverage is more limited on what it covers. When insurance companies talk about bodily injury, they’re referencing an injury caused by somebody else to a specific part of a claimant’s body. Insurers might even pay certain non-economic damages under bodily injury coverage, but pursuant to their contract of insurance with their insured person, they’re not obligated to pay for damage to a person’s reputation or psychological damage like emotional pain or distress. The definition of bodily injury in an insurance policy might be as restrictive as the insurer wants to make it. A tight bodily injury coverage definition could rule out coverage for anything other than economic damages of actual bodily injury care and treatment and any lost earnings connected with it. Non-economic damages wouldn’t be recoverable.
Contact a Spokane Personal Injury Lawyer
Always remember that insurance companies stay in business by settling claims as soon as possible for as little money as possible. Whether your case involves a personal injury claim or a bodily injury claim, you’ll want to speak with a Spokane Personal Injury Lawyer. Contact us right away after being injured in any accident in or around Tacoma, and we can arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. We’ll carefully listen to you and try to work through any coverage issues with you. If we enter into a retainer agreement, we don’t even get paid any legal fees unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. Our objective is to maximize any settlement or award that you might receive.