Suffering a bodily injury can keep you out of work for days, weeks, or even months on end. Without a steady income, you quickly fall behind on paying off medical bills, as well as monthly bills such as water and electricity. The day quickly arrives when you have to decide whether you should file for bankruptcy.
The bodily injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan want you to know there is a better way.
Many accidents that cause bodily injuries are covered by an insurance policy. In addition to filing an insurance claim, you might be able to file a civil lawsuit because of the negligence of one or more parties. You should make a decision about seeking just compensation by meeting with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
At Morgan & Morgan, we have established a nationwide presence for providing personal injury legal services. We understand how financial distress can lead to mental and emotional problems, which is why we work with a sense of urgency.
Get started on your bodily injury claim by scheduling a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer from Morgan & Morgan.
What Is the Difference Between a Personal Injury and a Bodily Injury?
Many of our clients think bodily injury and personal injury concern the same legal issue. However, there is a difference between the two legal terms. Bodily injury refers to the physical damage caused by an accident. Personal injury covers physical damage to the body, as well as mental and emotional distress.
Bodily injury liability coverage covers the physical injury payments you have to make because you caused an accident. On the other hand, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage covers the costs associated with medical and rehabilitation bills, as well as the loss of income.
If you suffer from one or more injuries that were caused by an accident, you should understand the difference between bodily injury and personal injury. Knowing both legal terms can help you when the time comes to request compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
What Does Serious Bodily Injury Mean?
Accidents like defective products and slip and falls produce a wide variety of injuries. Although you can receive compensation for the medical treatment that took care of a minor injury, most bodily injury claims cover serious bodily injuries.
Here a several examples of a serious bodily injury:
- Deep cuts
- Second and third-degree burns
- Internal organ bleeding
- Fractured bones
- Severe whiplash
- Spinal column damage
How Do Bodily Injury Cases Work?
If a Morgan & Morgan client receives a bodily injury while at work or on a business's property, the client has the right to file an insurance claim and/or a civil lawsuit.
Many insurance policies limit the definition of bodily injury to physical injuries. However, some insurance policies expand the definition to include issues such as shock, anguish, and acute fear. Typically, mental and emotional issues get covered only if a claimant suffered one or more physical injuries.
Bodily injury insurance coverage should cover the cost of healthcare up to the limit established by the policy. This includes emergency care, hospital care, and the medical expenses that are associated with treating and rehabilitating your injuries. You should also receive insurance coverage for lost wages and long-term healthcare costs.
How Is a Settlement Reached for a Bodily Injury Claim?
A bodily injury settlement finalizes when the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff an amount of money to cover the costs associated with expenses like medical bills. A vast majority of bodily injury cases end in a settlement to avoid the cost and the time-consuming nature of a civil trial.
Reaching a mutually agreed-upon settlement amount takes time. Both sides calculate what the plaintiff should receive in just compensation based on documents like medical bills and wage statements. Attorneys representing both parties depend on their legal experience for a similar case when calculating a settlement amount.
After both lawyers reach a rough estimate of a settlement amount, the attorneys send demand letters and settlement offers back and forth until a dollar amount appears to be agreeable to both the defendant and plaintiff. One of the keys to reaching a settlement requires both attorneys to determine the likelihood of winning a civil lawsuit. For most cases, the risk of losing a civil lawsuit outweighs any perceived financial benefits of going to trial.
What Are the Factors That Determine the Value of a Settlement?
Both the attorney for the defendant and the attorney for the plaintiff consider the same factors to determine the value of a settlement.
Monetary Damages Suffered by the Plaintiff
Both parties review copies of the plaintiff’s medical records to get an idea about how much money the plaintiff has paid for healthcare services. Medical expenses are by far the most substantial expenses a plaintiff pays because of the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of bodily injuries. You might also have lost a considerable amount of income because your bodily injuries prevent you from working. Other costs associated with a bodily injury case include property damage and the legal concept called pain and suffering.
Assets Owned by the Defendant
If you have heard the saying, “You can’t get blood from a stone,” you might wonder what it means. When it comes to receiving compensation for suffering from one or more bodily injuries, the saying means you cannot get paid in full if the defendant does not have the financial resources to cover the judgment issued by a civil court judge.
When a defendant loses a bodily injury case at trial, the court has the legal right to sell the defendant’s assets and/or garnish the defendant’s wage. However, if there are not enough assets to liquidate or wages to garnish, then the plaintiff “can’t get blood from a stone.” Your bodily injury attorney must calculate a reasonable amount for a judgment or settlement that the defendant can afford to pay in terms of monetary damages.
The last factor that plays a role in determining the value of a settlement or judgment concerns the defendant’s liability. Although your medical bills and other daily expenses might be expensive, there might not be enough evidence to establish liability. If your lawyer can prove liability, the defendant can expect to pay more in monetary damages regardless of whether you settle out of court or file a civil lawsuit.
How Do You File a Bodily Injury Claim?
Bodily injury claims are also referred to as third-party claims, which means you file your claim with the other party’s insurance company. To ensure you receive the compensation that you deserve, you must provide the other party’s insurance company several records and documents.
Start by sending a detailed description of what happened, from the cause of the accident to where you received healthcare services. You also must submit a copy of every medical record such as diagnostic reports and a note written by your physician about your long-term health prognosis. Sending copies of every medical bill allows the insurance company to begin calculating a dollar amount for your claim.
Depending on the type of accident, you might have to take photographs of the accident scene, as well as the injuries that you suffered. For example, the official police report for an auto accident takes care of the physical evidence. However, a slip and fall makes it your responsibility to gather and organize the evidence required to persuade the insurance company you did not cause the accident. Another important document to send is the wage statement submitted by your employer.
Here is what you should do after filing a bodily injury claim:
- Check back with the insurance company
- Prepare to discuss the incident to clarify one or more issues
- Follow the statute of limitations for settling a claim
- Sign the release form only at the request of your bodily injury lawyer
What Is the Difference Between Average and Median?
When you conduct research that explains the average value of a bodily injury claim, you can expect to see two words: average and median. Median means the middle amount of money for all similar cases combined. The problem with using median is a couple of above-average settlements can skew the calculation. You want to go with the average amount of bodily injury settlements because the calculation provides a much more accurate figure for what you should receive in monetary damages.
How Much Is the Average Bodily Injury Claim Worth?
A ten-year period provides us with a realistic number for the average value of a bodily injury claim. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 does not give us a realistic figure for the average bodily injury incident. Let’s look at the years from 2010 to 2019 to arrive at an accurate number.
The data used to calculate the average value of a bodily injury claim comes from Quadrant Information Services.
The Importance of Working with an Experienced Bodily Injury Attorney
Dealing with an insurance company is rarely a pleasant experience. The goal of any insurance company is to maximize revenue and minimize expenses. A bodily injury claim represents the largest expense faced by an insurance company. By working with an experienced bodily injury lawyer, you might reach a settlement or win a civil lawsuit that pays for most if not all of your medical expenses and other daily costs.
Your attorney will help you collect and organize the evidence that you need to convince the insurance company to pay up. Bodily injury lawyers also ensure clients submit the proper paperwork before every deadline, as well as monitor the progress of your claim. Schedule a free case evaluation today with Morgan & Morgan to start the bodily injury claim process.