Whether you claim bodily injury from an accident may depend on:
- The specific circumstances that produced your injury
- The damages you suffered
- Whether insurance covers your losses
What Types of Incidents Warrant a Bodily Injury Claim?You may file a bodily injury claim following any number of accident types. Some events that may warrant a claim include:
- A car accident
- A truck accident
- A pedestrian accident
- A motorcycle accident
- A slip and fall or trip and fall
- A criminal incident (which may result from negligent security)
- The malfunctioning of a defective product
- A boating accident
- An instance of medical malpractice
Types of Insurance That May Cover Your Bodily InjuryThe availability of insurance coverage may determine how you file a bodily injury claim. Different types of coverage may apply to different types of accidents. Applicable coverages may include:
- Auto insurance: Most states have laws mandating auto insurance for all motorists. In an at-fault state, the motorist who caused the accident should provide coverage for your losses—up to a limit. If your damages exceed the liable motorist’s auto insurance coverage limits, you may need to sue.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance: If you are injured in an auto crash by someone who was uninsured or who lacks sufficient coverage to fully compensate you, if you have purchased UM/IUIM coverage under your own auto insurance policy, you can seek compensation from that policy.
- Homeowner’s insurance: Homeowner’s insurance may cover various accident types, including but not limited to falls. Homeowner’s insurance may also cover incidents such as boating accidents.
- Business insurance: Business insurance may apply when you suffer an injury on a commercial property. Business insurance policies may cover slips and falls, criminal assaults, and trips and falls.
Challenges When Completing an Insurance ClaimEven if someone’s insurance covers your accident, securing fair payment may not be easy. Possible challenges to you securing a just settlement amount include:
Questions About LiabilityFor an insurance policy to be responsible for paying a claim, the policyholder must be liable for the accident. If there is inadequate evidence the policyholder is liable, the insurance company will deny the claim. To limit the settlement offer, the insurance company might claim that the policyholder shares fault with someone else, and you must file a claim against the other liable driver’s policy to get full compensation. From a defendant’s perspective, the takeaway is this: The less liable they are, the less compensation they must pay you. The defendant has a clear incentive to claim that someone else is wholly or partially liable for your accident. An insurance company for the defendant can make a similar claim.
Claims That Certain Damages Are Not RecoverableAn insurance company may claim that certain damages are not recoverable. This may result in a smaller insurance payment than you deserve, but the right legal team will fight for coverage of every loss that an insurance policy dictates as recoverable.
Delaying of Your ClaimInsurance companies may use stall tactics in hopes that you will accept a quick, low settlement. This is not acceptable. An effective attorney will keep the pressure on the insurance company, insisting on fair negotiations.
Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident?Hiring an attorney is a wise decision for most accident victims. Your attorney will advise you on all aspects of your case. They’ll help you make a crucial determination: should you seek compensation through insurance or pursue a lawsuit instead? Your lawyer will explain how to claim bodily injuries from your accident. You can also expect your personal injury lawyer to:
- Handle the vast majority of your claim or lawsuit: Your law firm will manage your claim or lawsuit from start to finish. They may require your participation for certain aspects, like giving personal testimony or providing pictures. When it comes to complicated legal or medical issues, your attorney will mostly handle those for you.
- Oversee settlement negotiations: Settlement talks are a pivotal part in any accident case. Whether your attorney is negotiating with an insurance company, attorney, or some other party, they will seek the best possible recovery for you.
- Determine whether to take your case to trial: Settlement negotiations may produce a fair offer that leads to settlement of your case. If no such settlement arises, your attorney may suggest proceeding to trial.
What Is the Risk of Forgoing an Attorney?Some accident victims choose to represent themselves. Make no mistake: this is your right, but it may not be the best decision. When you represent yourself, you generally:
- Must face insurance companies and attorneys alone
- Conduct all document-gathering, evidence-gathering, communications, and other case-related duties on your own
- Pay for all case-related expenses yourself