Bodily injury claims are personal injury claims for monetary compensation. An accident victim may file a bodily injury claim if they suffer injuries in an accident that results from someone else's negligent or reckless conduct.
To successfully recover monetary compensation, the accident victim must establish several legal elements, after which the parties may negotiate a settlement offer.
If the at-fault party's insurance company does not make a reasonable settlement offer, the accident victim may file a lawsuit and pursue litigation for the monetary recovery they deserve.
If you suffered injuries in an accident resulting from someone else's negligence, a knowledgeable car accident attorney in San Antonio may file a bodily injury claim. As part of that claim, you can pursue and recover monetary damages for all your accident-related losses.
Potential types of compensation may include reimbursement for medical expenses and lost income, along with monetary recovery for pain, suffering, inconvenience, and other intangible losses.
Your personal injury attorney can advocate for you every step of the way, aggressively fight for your legal interests, and work to maximize the monetary recovery that you ultimately receive for your injuries.
Your lawyer can also answer all your legal questions and explain the pros and cons of various legal decisions, including whether to accept a pending settlement offer or litigate your case through the court system.
How Does a Bodily Injury Claim Arise?
When other individuals and entities fail to follow the applicable standard of care and cause an accident, a bodily injury claim may arise.
Some of the most common accidents that lead to a bodily injury claim include:
- Slip and falls and other premises accidents, where the property owner fails to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition
- Car and truck accidents, where a motorist violates one or more traffic laws, negligently causing an accident
- Pedestrian accidents, where a driver fails to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian at the appropriate time
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents, when a motor vehicle operator operates their vehicle carelessly, causing their vehicle to strike a nearby cyclist
- Medical negligence and malpractice, where a medical doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional makes a mistake or deviates from the standard of care
- Boating accidents, where a boat operator fails to operate their boat carefully and safely or a boat owner fails to properly maintain the premises in a safe condition
- Workplace accidents, where an individual suffers an injury while on the job
- Building and construction site accidents, where a contractor, foreman, or manager fails to keep the premises in a safe condition for the benefit of workers
- Bus accidents, where a bus driver fails to operate their bus carefully and causes an accident or where a third-party driver negligently causes their vehicle to strike a bus, causing bus passengers to suffer injuries.
If you suffered bodily injuries in any accident, consult a personal injury attorney in your area as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can review your accident, explore your legal options with you, and pursue the most favorable course of action for your unique case.
Successfully Proving a Bodily Injury Claim or Lawsuit
To receive monetary compensation as part of a bodily injury claim, the injured accident victim must satisfy the elements of their case. In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the entire burden of proof rests entirely with the injured accident victim. The at-fault individual or entity does not need to satisfy any legal burden of proof in the personal injury case.
First, the injured accident victim must establish that the at-fault individual or entity owed them a duty of reasonable care. For example, in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else's premises, the owner likely owed the property visitor a duty to reasonably maintain their premises safely and hazard-free.
Additionally, the property owner likely had a duty to warn about or correct known dangerous conditions on their premises and regularly inspect them for potentially unknown hazards.
Next, the injured accident victim must show that the at-fault individual or entity violated the standard of care by behaving unreasonably under the circumstances. For example, in a slip and fall case, the property owner might have known about a spill on the floor, yet they failed to have someone clean up the spill within a reasonable amount of time.
Additionally, the accident victim needs to show that as a direct result of the at-fault party's negligent behavior, the accident occurred, leading to one or more bodily injuries for the accident victim.
Proving these legal elements can sometimes be difficult, but a personal injury attorney can retain several experts to satisfy the necessary legal elements. If the insurance company disputes fault for the accident, then a personal injury attorney may retain an accident reconstructionist to testify as a witness in the case and draft a report.
An accident reconstructionist can recreate the accident circumstances by visiting the scene of the occurrence, looking at pictures and video footage, speaking with witnesses, and reviewing police reports. The accident reconstructionist will then draft their own report about their findings and conclusions.
Similarly, a medical expert, such as a surgeon or treating healthcare provider, can connect specific injuries to medical malpractice. For example, a medical provider can state in a medical report or testify as a witness, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that a particular injury or injuries directly resulted from the subject accident.
A medical provider might also establish that the accident victim suffered one or more permanent injuries, meaning that they are unlikely to improve with time.
What Monetary Damages Are Recoverable for a Bodily Injury Claim?
A bodily injury claim may include monetary compensation for all the accident victim's various losses and damages. Assuming the accident victim can satisfy the legal elements of their claim, they may recover these monetary damages.
The total damage award that an accident victim receives through settlement or litigation will usually depend upon the specific accident circumstances, the particular injuries that the accident victim suffered, the total cost of their accident-related medical treatment, and whether they missed time from work after their accident.
First, accident victims may pursue compensation for their economic losses. These losses compensate accident victims for their accident-related past medical costs. If a medical provider determines that the accident victim suffered a permanent injury or impairment that requires ongoing medical treatment, such as a surgical procedure or physical therapy, then the accident victim might also recover their anticipated medical costs.
They can also pursue compensation for any lost earnings or loss of earning capacity. In addition, an accident victim may pursue compensation for various intangible losses, including mental distress, permanent disability or disfigurement, lost quality of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, long-term care costs, pain and suffering, inconvenience, and loss of spousal consortium.
An expert medical provider can also testify about the pain and suffering that the accident victim endured, which they are likely to endure if they suffered a permanent injury, such as a full or partial paralysis injury.
Given the nature and extent of your injuries and the total cost of your medical treatment, your lawyer can estimate a likely settlement or verdict value of your bodily injury claim and will do everything to maximize the total damages you receive for your losses.
The Settlement Negotiation Process
During the settlement negotiations stage of a bodily injury claim, your personal injury attorney can handle all negotiations with insurance company representatives.
During settlement negotiations, insurance company adjusters are frequently difficult and will do everything possible to undervalue an accident victim's claim. Insurance companies are not truly interested in offering you the fair compensation you deserve for your bodily injuries. Instead, they hope to settle a claim for as little money as possible.
During settlement negotiations, your attorney can forward additional documentation to the insurance company, highlight the strengths of your case, point to pertinent medical records or expert reports, and, if necessary, threaten the insurance company with litigation in court if the insurance company refuses to increase their settlement offer.
The time it takes to resolve a bodily injury claim can range from a few weeks to several months, depending upon the circumstances of your accident and the insurance company's willingness to settle.
If litigation becomes necessary in your case, your lawyer can continue negotiating with the insurance company adjuster and meet all court-imposed deadlines. If your case still does not resolve by the end of litigation, your lawyer may take your case to a civil jury trial or pursue various alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings, such as mediation or binding arbitration.
Throughout the entire process, your attorney will make recommendations for your case and work to obtain the compensation that you need to become whole again after your accident.
Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney About Your Case Right Away
If you suffered bodily injuries due to someone else's negligence, time is of the essence. This is because accident victims have only two years from the date of their accident to file a lawsuit in the court system for monetary recovery.
Unless an exceptional circumstance applies, the court will bar accident victims from recovering monetary compensation if they file a lawsuit after the deadline. Therefore, given the time constraints, you need to retain legal counsel to represent you as quickly as possible.
Once you retain a lawyer in your case, they can immediately explore your potential legal options and take the necessary action on your behalf. They will then do everything possible to obtain a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company or a favorable litigation result in the state court system.
Serious injuries can disrupt your life in many costly ways. You might deal with daily pain and limitations, time-consuming treatment appointments, financial concerns from missing work, and much more.
While money cannot reverse your injuries or lessen your pain, it can relieve stress and protect your financial future. You must ensure you include all of your losses in your bodily injury claim, so you are in the best position to move forward from the accident.
Consultations with a San Antonio personal injury attorney are free, so you have nothing to lose by beginning the process today.