In 2018, 35 million people in the U.S. visited an emergency room due to an injury. In Arizona, 53,376 people sustained injuries from car accidents alone. Bodily injury is a term you may come across in reference to insurance and legal proceedings. The term refers to physical damages to the body, including those that result in death, but it plays different roles in insurance and legal claims.
Bodily Injury Definition
Injuries from accidents can include cuts, bruises, abrasions or burns, but physical damage to your body isn’t always visible. Examples of internal injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Torn or damaged soft tissues
- Organ impairment
- Nerve damage
An illness can also be a physical injury in insurance or legal claims if it results from an accident or a third party’s negligence.
Bodily Injury in Insurance Claims
You may file an insurance claim if you sustain injuries in an accident that require treatment. While a cut on your arm may qualify as an injury, it may not be severe enough to warrant a claim. If you need stitches, however, you may file a claim with an insurance company. Traffic, slip-and-fall and workplace accidents can all cause physical damage to your person that could lead to a claim.
Arizona Traffic Accident Claims
Arizona is an at-fault insurance state. The state requires motorists to carry liability insurance for the cars they drive. The minimum state coverage is $25,000 to pay for the treatment of bodily injury for one person and $50,000 for two or more injured individuals.
Liability coverage pays for damages if you cause an accident that injures occupants of other vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians. It does not pay for you or in a number of instances your passengers’ injuries. You would want MedPay coverage to be in place under the insurance policy for that.
On the other hand, if you have a traffic accident and the other person is at fault, you file a claim with the other party’s auto insurance company to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages and additional damages due to your injuries.
If you have a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property and sustain bodily injury, and the owner’s negligence caused the accident, you can file a claim with the owner’s property insurance company. These claims can be tricky, as you must show that the other party was negligent in action or inaction and thereby caused the accident. Your injuries must also result in medical expenses.
Slip-and-fall accidents often occur in the workplace. Arizona requires almost all businesses with employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you get hurt while on the job, you file a claim with your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company.
In general, fault is not a consideration. The insurance covers medical treatment and lost wages no matter who is at fault. In turn, you are not allowed to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Bodily Injury in Legal Claims
In civil cases, bodily injury is one component of a personal injury claim related to an accident. Personal injury includes any damage to your personhood, so the term encompasses a broader range of harms.
In Arizona, residents can file lawsuits against third parties to pursue compensation for damages from accidents for which they were at fault. Personal injury attorneys provide legal counsel, help gather evidence, build a case and represent their clients in negotiations and the courtroom. Having someone experienced and knowledgeable in personal injury law is often crucial to obtaining a fair settlement.
Proving Fault for Your Bodily Injury
Most personal injury claims arise from accidents leading to serious injury or fatality. In many cases, claimants could not reach a satisfactory settlement with the insurance company, or their damages exceeded the other party’s coverage. To obtain fair compensation, they take their case to an attorney who can help them through the legal process.
Winning a lawsuit requires proving that the other person was negligent in their behavior. In some instances, the evidence may seem relatively straightforward, but the defendant’s representation will undoubtedly attempt to place a higher degree of blame on you. Proving the other party was at fault for your bodily injury has four components, and you must establish that each is true. These components are:
- Duty of care: You must demonstrate that the other party was responsible for providing for your safety. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. A property owner has a duty of care to guests in most cases.
- Breach of duty: The most challenging aspect of proving fault is demonstrating that the other party was negligent. This is especially true for slip-and-fall cases.
- Causation: You also need to establish that the defendant’s negligent behavior caused the accident that led to your injuries and that you could not have anticipated or prevented the accident.
- Bodily injury and damages: Finally, you must demonstrate that you received damages that resulted in severe enough harm to warrant compensation.
An attorney can assess your case to determine if the evidence supports a negligence claim.
Understanding Arizona’s Comparative Negligence Law
Arizona law allows you to seek compensation through the legal system if you sustain injuries due to another party’s negligence. Even if you are partially (or mostly) at fault, you may be able to recover damages. Under this state’s pure comparative negligence rule, compensation is equal to the percentage of fault assigned to the other party.
Total compensation includes damages for bodily injury and emotional and mental health harms. However, if you share responsibility for the accident, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault. In other words, if you are 40% liable, you receive 60% of the total compensation. An experienced attorney can help you prove your case and obtain a fair settlement.
Help for Your Bodily Injury Claim
If you sustained bodily injury due to another party’s negligence, the attorneys at MDK Law Group have the knowledge and experience you need to help you get fair compensation. Whether you want support in dealing with the insurance company or representation in a legal claim, we’re here for you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. Arizona’s personal injury statute of limitations gives you two years from the accident to file a lawsuit. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.