What Is Considered Bodily Injury In a Car Accident?

A black-and-white image of a man sitting on a lawn in front of a crashed car

Bodily injury in a car accident refers to any physical harm a person suffers as a result of the accident. This can include a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to serious, life-altering injuries.

Another way to frame a bodily injury is anything requiring medical treatment related directly to the accident.

If you have suffered bodily injury in a car accident, you may be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Keep in mind that these insurance companies often come prepared to contest claims and “duke it out” before they are willing to settle.

So if you’re already experiencing the stress of an injury, make sure to contact a qualified attorney to handle your case. 

Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law are here to help, and our California car accident lawyers are poised to help you secure the legal representation you’ll need to fight for your rights. Call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online to schedule a confidential, no-obligation case review today. 

How Does a Bodily Injury Claim Work

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your bodily injury. Bodily injury claims can cover physical or non-physical harm and also include pain and suffering as well as medical expenses, lost wages, and future earnings.

When filing a bodily injury claim, you’ll typically file the following process: 

  1. Seek medical attention: The first step in a bodily injury claim is to seek medical attention for your injuries. It’s important to document your injuries and obtain medical records that can be used to support your claim.
  2. File an insurance claim: If the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional actions, you can file an insurance claim with their insurance company. You will need to provide details about the accident, including when and where it occurred, who was involved, and the extent of your injuries.
  3. Investigation: The insurance company will investigate your claim to determine who was at fault for the accident and the extent of your injuries. They may request medical records, speak with witnesses, and review the police report.
  4. Negotiation: Once the insurance company has completed the investigation, they will make an initial settlement offer. This offer may not fully compensate you for your injuries, and you have the right to negotiate for a higher settlement amount. It’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side during this process to help you navigate the negotiation process and ensure that you receive fair compensation.
  5. Settlement or Trial: If you and the insurance company are able to reach a settlement agreement, your case will be resolved without going to trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, your case may go to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to.

Common Bodily Injury Examples

A few examples of bodily injuries that may occur in a car accident include:

  • Whiplash: This is a common injury that can occur when the neck is quickly jerked back and forth in a car accident. It can cause pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the neck.
  • Broken bones: Car accidents can cause fractures in any part of the body, including the arms, legs, ribs, and spine.
  • Back injuries: Car accidents can cause a range of back injuries, including sprains, strains, herniated discs, and spinal cord injuries.
  • Head injuries: Car accidents can cause head injuries ranging from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
  • Internal injuries: Car accidents can cause internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding.

In some cases, bodily injuries may not be immediately apparent following a car accident. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately after an accident, even if you feel fine, as some injuries may not become apparent until hours or even days later. 

What’s The Difference Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury

Bodily injury and personal injury both refer to physical harm caused to an individual resulting from an accident. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two types of injuries.

Bodily Injury

Bodily injury, sometimes referred to as “BI” in insurance policies, refers to physical harm sustained by the body. This includes injuries such as broken bones, cuts, bruises, or other physical damage caused by a car accident.

The most common type of bodily injury claim is a lawsuit for medical expenses or pain and suffering resulting from an accident.

Personal Injury

Personal injury refers to any bodily injury as well as any emotional or psychological harm that may not be visible or recognizable — such as anxiety, emotional distress, depression, and fear — caused by the negligence of another person.

It is important to note that personal injury is not limited to physical contact; it can also occur when someone’s negligence causes mental anguish and suffering. The most common type of personal injury claim is a lawsuit for loss of companionship following an accident.

In the context of a legal claim, a personal injury claim can include both bodily injury and non-physical injuries, whereas a bodily injury claim is focused solely on physical injuries.

What Is Bodily Injury Liability Coverage?

Bodily injury liability coverage is an essential part of any auto insurance policy. It pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from an accident in which you or someone in your car injures a third party.

To understand what this coverage does and does not cover, it’s important to look at the three main elements of bodily injury liability coverage:

  1. Medical expenses — Bodily injury liability coverage can help cover medical expenses for anyone injured in an accident, including co-passengers. This includes hospital stays, physical therapy, medications, and other medical bills.
  2. Lost wages — If a third party is injured and unable to work due to the accident, bodily injury liability coverage can help provide compensation for lost wages while they are out of work recovering.
  3. Pain and suffering — Bodily injury liability coverage can also provide compensation for pain and suffering incurred by the injured person in some cases. This may include mental anguish or emotional distress due to the trauma of the accident.

It’s important to note that the bodily injury liability coverage you purchase does not cover damage done to your own car or property, nor does it pay for your own medical expenses if you are injured in an accident.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to carry comprehensive auto insurance that can provide additional protection should you be involved in an accident that leads to bodily injury.

What Is the Minimum Bodily Injury Liability Requirement in California?

If you’re in California, bodily injury liability (BIL) is a must — it’s one of the state’s three required auto insurance coverages. BIL covers medical expenses and lost wages for other people injured in an accident caused by you or someone driving your car with your permission.

The minimum amount of BIL coverage required in California is:

  • $15,000 for an injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for total bodily injury liability coverage per accident

It’s important to note, however, that while this amount might cover all or most of the medical expenses resulting from a minor accident, it may not be enough to cover the cost of more serious injuries.

That’s why it can sometimes make sense to purchase more coverage than the state requires. Doing so will ensure any extra medical expense resulting from an injury will be covered.

How Much Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Should I Have?

Generally speaking, liability coverage is one of the most important components of an auto insurance policy, but if you’re looking for more protection, there are several options available. Here are some examples of coverages you might consider:

  • Minimum Coverage: This type of coverage typically covers up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability.
  • Standard Coverage: This is typically the most popular type of coverage and provides up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury liability.
  • Extended Coverage: This type of coverage offers higher limits and may include up to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident for bodily injury liability.

By understanding the different options available to you when it comes to bodily injury liability coverage, you can make an informed decision about what level is right for your needs.

How Much Is the Average Bodily Injury Claim Worth?

If you’ve been in a car accident that resulted in bodily injury, it’s natural to wonder what type of compensation you may be entitled to.

According to the latest reports, the average bodily injury claim is worth approximately $15,000 — but this can increase or decrease depending on the complexity of your case.

The amount of compensation you’re awarded for bodily injury may depend on several factors including: 

  • How serious were your injuries?
  • Did you seek medical care for your injuries?
  • How much were your medical expenses?
  • Did you suffer any loss of wages due to the accident?
  • Where did the accident occur?

For instance, an accident that caused long-term or permanent injuries could result in higher payouts than one with only minor injuries. Likewise, an accident occurring in a state with higher pain and suffering settlement rates could result in more financial compensation as well.

Ultimately, each case is unique and should be evaluated on its individual merits by a legal professional specializing in personal injury cases.

So if you’re ready to find out how much your case may be worth, contact Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law today. To schedule a confidential, no-obligation case review, simply call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online.