What Is Bodily Injury?

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Bodily injury encompasses a wide range of physical harm, and understanding its legal definition is crucial for pursuing compensation, especially since New York law distinguishes between mere bodily injuries and “serious injuries.”
  • New York’s no-fault insurance system mandates personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which provides up to $50,000 for basic economic losses, but serious injuries may allow for additional legal action.

A bodily injury is any type of injury that causes physical pain, illness, or impairment to the body. Even minor or temporary injuries fall under the legal category of “bodily injury.” In personal injury cases, bodily injury is harm caused in an accident.

Defining bodily injury is crucial for insurance purposes if you want to claim compensation or take legal action. Many states, including New York, require drivers to carry auto liability insurance to help cover the cost of medical care and other expenses. However, injury victims in New York auto accidents must first exhaust their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage before filing a liability insurance claim.

Our experienced attorneys can help you recover compensation for bodily injuries sustained at little to no fault of your own. As the exclusive personal injury law firm of the New York Mets, we are ready to hit it out of the park for you. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (855) NYC-HURT or completing our online contact form.

Examples of Bodily Injury

The term “bodily injury” means any bodily harm, including physical injury, sickness, disease, and death resulting from said harm. Examples of common bodily injuries caused by car accidents include:

  • Whiplash
  • Concussions
  • Broken Bones
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
Examples of bodily injuries graphic designed by Chopra & Nocerino

How Does a Bodily Injury Claim Work?

Because New York is a no-fault state, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection coverage. PIP insurance covers up to $50,000 in basic economic losses. If you suffer bodily injuries in a New York car accident, you must file a claim through this insurance first. It provides coverage regardless of who was at fault for the crash.

If your losses exceed the $50,000 coverage, you may qualify to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, you must meet the serious injury or basic economic loss threshold to pursue additional damages. If you do not satisfy one of these requirements, you generally can only recover compensation through the no-fault system.

Additional PIP and Other Benefits

Injury victims who exhaust their mandatory PIP coverage may file for additional no-fault benefits if they purchased extra coverage. Though most drivers do not purchase additional PIP coverage, it is wise to do so, as this no-fault insurance can spare you a headache down the road. Other forms of insurance that may cover your bodily injuries include liability insurance, health insurance, and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.

Serious Injury Threshold

Under New York law, you may have grounds to bring a lawsuit to recover both economic and non-economic damages if you suffer a “serious injury,” which has a specific legal meaning defined by statute. The following are considered serious bodily injuries:

  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system

Additionally, a non-permanent impairment or injury is considered a “serious injury” when it prevents you from performing your usual and customary daily activities for at least 90 days in the 180 days following the injury.
If you were in a New York car accident and suffered a serious bodily injury due to another person’s negligence, you can file a legal claim for compensation. Our experienced New York injury attorneys can help you navigate the state’s complex legal system.

Total Basic Economic Loss Threshold

Again, you may also be entitled to additional damages if your total basic economic loss is more than $50,000. If you find yourself facing this situation, speak with our trusted personal injury attorneys to see how you can pursue the full value of your damages by taking legal action.

Steps in a Bodily Injury Claim

The steps for filing a bodily injury claim may include the following:

  • Seek medical care and follow through with all treatment plans.
  • File a PIP insurance claim.
  • Work with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine if you meet the serious injury or total basic economic loss threshold.
  • Investigate the accident and collect evidence.
  • Prove the at-fault driver’s negligence.
  • Let your lawyer speak with insurance adjusters on your behalf.
  • If you move forward with a lawsuit, serve a notice of claim.
  • File a personal injury lawsuit in court.
  • Gather more evidence during the discovery phase to build your case.
  • Negotiate a settlement amount that accurately represents your losses.
  • If necessary, take your case to court.

Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Our team is ready to go to bat for you and fight for the maximum compensation you are owed in and out of court. We have recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Because you have a limited time to file your insurance claim or bring a lawsuit for compensation, contact our New York injury lawyers as soon as possible.

Steps in a bodily injury claim. Flow chart by Chopra & Nocerino

Compensation for Bodily Injury

If you’re filing a claim through your PIP insurance, you can recover up to $50,000 of basic economic losses through New York’s no-fault system, which includes things like:

  • Medical, hospital, surgical, nursing, dental, ambulance, x-ray, prescription drug, and prosthetic services.
  • Psychiatric, physical therapy, and occupational therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Any other professional health services.
  • All other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred.
  • Loss of earnings from work.

However, if you suffer a serious bodily injury, you may claim additional compensation for non-economic damages, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Permanent disability
  • Disfigurement

Establishing Liability for Bodily Injury in New York

To establish liability for bodily injury in New York, you must normally prove the elements of negligence:

  • Duty of Care – The defendant had a legal obligation to take reasonable care to avoid harming the plaintiff.
  • Breach of Duty – The defendant failed to meet this obligation by acting in a way that a reasonably prudent person would not have under similar circumstances.
  • Causation – The defendant’s actions directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Damages – The plaintiff suffered actual losses, such as medical costs, lost earnings, or pain and suffering, due to the defendant’s breach.

Furthermore, New York’s pure comparative negligence rule adjusts compensation based on the plaintiff’s share of fault, affecting the final award amount.

We’re Ready To Step Up to the Plate for You

Dealing with a bodily injury in New York? We are real New Yorkers standing by to defend the rights of injury victims throughout the five boroughs. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (855) NYC-HURT or completing our online contact form.

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