What Constitutes Bodily Injury?


Even if the pain is not permanent, bodily injury can have a gross and profound impact on your life. It can impact your ability to work, your enjoyment of time with loved ones, or your independence. This is to say nothing of the medical bills that could cause financial harm to you and your family. This is especially true if your bodily injury came from medical malpractice in the first place. 

When you’re injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Your legal counsel can help you determine the best course of action. But first, it’s important to understand what constitutes bodily injury in a legal proceeding.

Factors That Constitute Bodily Injury

Cornell defines bodily injury as, “[A] cut, abrasion, bruise, or disfigurement; physical pain; illness; impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty; or any other injury to the body, no matter how temporary.” 

Obviously, this covers a rather broad swath of issues and can leave some wondering whether their injury is enough for a bodily injury settlement or lawsuit. Factors that constitute bodily injury include:

Permanent Disfigurement

Some injuries have a lifelong — and visible — impact on you. Loss of appendages or other body parts like eyes will change the way you navigate through the world. Even a prominent scar or a skin graft on an otherwise healed body can profoundly impact your life, as well. 

There is often significant emotional pain that comes from permanent disfigurement. You may mourn the way your body looked or functioned before the accident. Or you may suffer harassment and rejection from others as a result of the disfigurement. Difficulty with body image can arise in these instances. 

If an accident that was the fault of another party left you with permanent disfigurement, you may seek compensation.

Physical Pain

Living with physical pain can make everyday tasks seem monumental. Exercising, getting dressed, making breakfast, or caring for your children are all much more strenuous when you’re in pain. When you have physical pain, it can sap your energy and even make some tasks unbearable. 

You may need to take off work while you recover or you may not be able to live as independently as you prefer. You may need to be prescribed pain medication in order to manage your daily life despite the pain.

In some cases, physical pain lasts while you recover from the injury and then gradually fades. In other cases, it may lead to chronic pain, even creating or exacerbating issues like fibromyalgia or arthritis. Whether temporary or permanent, physical pain is a serious effect of a bodily injury for which you may seek compensation.

Failure or Impaired Bodily Function

A car accident may leave an injured victim paralyzed. A traumatic brain injury can severely impair both brain and body functions. Even medical negligence can lead to body impairments or failures. Loss of limbs, injuries that cause blindness or deafness, or injuries that lead to some kind of organ failure all fall within this category. 

These injuries have the potential to impact your pain, medical expenses, and quality of life. They can also utterly change the way you move through life. 

You may be unable to remain at your job as a result of an impaired or failed bodily function, leading to a loss of income. You may spend the rest of your life in and out of hospitals. This can be both traumatic and costly, which is why plaintiffs often seek compensation.

When There’s a Risk of Death

While most bodily injuries will require recovery time and may have some lasting impacts, some can be deadly. If a vital organ was injured, for instance, there may be a substantial risk of death. Sometimes the lasting impacts of injuries can also make injury victims vulnerable to certain diseases and conditions that could prove deadly. 

In these instances, even if you survive, the substantial risk of death can be stressful and traumatizing, both to yourself and to your family. Where there is a risk of death, there may be a bodily injury liability.

How to File a Bodily Injury Claim

If you were injured as a result of another party’s negligence, you may be able to file a bodily injury claim. Speak to your legal counsel about whether or not you have a case. 

Keep records of everything: your medical expenses, the extent of your injuries, proof of lost wages, any communication with the insurance company, and any photographs. Though, it’s worth noting that after an initial contact about insurance coverage, you should let your attorney deal with the insurance company.

Working with your personal injury lawyer, you can file the claim. In your complaint, give a detailed description of the accident and the result of that accident. Include any documentation, photographs, or receipts such as medical bills and additional costs. If there was any property damage done, make sure that is also included. 

You can ask your attorney questions like, "What is bodily injury liability?" or “How much bodily injury liability do I need?” Or discuss what to do in cases of uninsured motorist bodily injury. Have questions about person limit or accident limit when it comes to bodily injury claims? A personal injury lawyer has you covered.

In some cases, the insurance company may simply settle, while in others, you may need to go to court.

Insurance Coverage for a Covered Claim

Take a look at the insurance plan to see whether the incident falls under a covered claim. If so, you will still need to make sure that everything is thoroughly documented so that you can easily prove the bodily injury. 

Insurance companies are skilled at looking for loopholes that prevent them from having to pay. Here again, it’s always a good idea to let your legal counsel handle any interactions with the insurance company, as they are experienced in the tricks that insurance employees will use to trip up claimants.

Contact an Attorney to Discuss Potential Compensation

If you’ve recently been injured and think you might be entitled to compensation, contact The Moore Law Firm today. Our experienced attorneys can review your case and help you get the settlement you deserve, as well as navigate any interactions with the insurance company.

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If you have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of another person's negligence, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. The simple fact is that you should not be forced to pay the price for another person's careless or reckless actions.