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What’s the Difference Between Property Damage and Bodily Injury?

property damage vs bodily injuryThe differences between property damage and bodily injury liability insurance claims, and the laws and policies that govern each, are specific to the type of liability in question. Regarding property damage, a property damage lawyer can help victims who sustain real or personal property loss or damage to recover financially as a result of another’s negligence or from a force of nature. Unlike bodily injury claims, property damage deals with the amount of recovery, replacement, repairs, loss of use and related costs after an accident occurs to one’s property. Such damage may include harm to a vehicle, a house or other structure, a tree, a mailbox or some other form of property. A personal injury lawyer would provide legal services to those who have suffered bodily injury, whether physically or psychologically, due to negligence by someone or some entity, public or private agency, or company.

Property Owner Responsibility and Liability Insurance

At the core of any insurance policy are property damage and bodily injury liability insurance. In either instance, if you are at fault, liability insurance provides the coverage necessary to protect your financial assets. If you are not at fault, it will provide you with compensation for your loss or injuries. The fundamental difference between the two is that one protects things, the other people.

What is Considered Property Damage?

Property damage is the coverage that offers financial protection for ‘things,’ i.e., possessions. The financial protection for people is covered under bodily injury insurance. If you are in an accident, then your bodily injury liability coverage will be applied to medical expenses for injuries caused by you to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians. With property damage, expenses are covered if your vehicle or property causes damage to someone else’s property, such as if a tree in your yard drops a limb on a friend’s car or if you back your car into a neighbor’s fence. Whether property damage or bodily injury occurs, in either case, it is a matter of determining liability.

Getting to the Root of Liability

Liability is a word that may or may not be understood, but there is little doubt it is often used in the insurance industry. At its root, being liable means you are legally responsible for something. Therefore, liability insurance is designed to protect your assets in the event that you accidentally cause damage or injury to something or someone. If it is proven that you are the responsible party, then you can be held liable for the replacement value to the damaged property or the medical expenses.

What is Bodily Injury or Personal Injury

The differences between property damage and bodily injury then, relate to different types of liability, which in turn, revolves around the concept of negligence. When determining liability, negligence is a term often used in the insurance industry as well, but also heard frequently in a court of law. In short, negligence is an unintentional act that results in an accident, injury or loss to another or others person or property. Liability insurance coverage can only be applied if an act of negligence is responsible for the loss or accident. It is not applicable if the accident or loss was deliberate or intentional. For example, liability insurance coverage would protect you if, while driving your car, you hit a slick patch of road and slid into your neighbor’s mailbox. It would not protect your financial assets if you deliberately plowed into your neighbor’s mailbox.

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If you are the victim or the one who is liable, you want to be paid or protected with just compensation. Though it is hard to believe, for the sake of profit, insurance companies often attempt to impede, delay, disallow, under compensate, or deny property damage claims to victims and policyholders. A property damage lawyer, such as those at Hardy, Wolf and Downing, will ensure that you receive fair treatment and maximum compensation for any losses due to property damage or the financial protection you are entitled to as a result of liability.

Like most Mainers, property damage law in Maine is nuanced and particular. The lawyers at Hardy, Wolf and Downing are Maine lawyers. They have the legal knowledge and decades of experience to navigate through Maine’s property damage laws to make sure the insurance company pays out what it owes you. For legal counsel that you can trust, contact Hardy, Wolf and Downing today to discuss your representation needs.