October 17, 2023 In Insurance, Personal Injury

Personal Injury vs. Breach of Contract Claims under California Law

In the world of legal disputes, personal injury cases and breach of contract claims often surface as common grievances. While both pertain to seeking justice and potential compensation, their pathways and implications, especially concerning medical expenses, diverge significantly.

Personal Injury Cases: A Direct Pathway to Medical Expense Claims

In a personal injury case, if an individual is injured due to the negligence of another party, they may seek compensation for their medical expenses directly related to the injury. For instance, if a person suffers a back injury in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, they can seek compensation for their physical therapy, surgery, or any other medical expenses arising due to that specific injury under California law.

Breach of Contract Claim: A Separate Arena

Contrastingly, a breach of contract claim arises when one party fails to fulfill their obligations under a contractual agreement. Here, compensation typically relates directly to the losses incurred from the breach itself, not ancillary damages. For example, suppose a person has a contract with a life insurance company, and the company refuses to pay out a valid claim upon the policyholder’s death. The bereaved might file a breach of contract claim for the payout amount, but not for ancillary damages, like medical expenses for therapy due to emotional distress, unless such damages were explicitly outlined in the contract.

Example Scenario

Consider Mrs. A, who filed a claim with her late husband’s life insurance company. The claim was rejected, and Mrs. A sought therapy to manage her emotional turmoil. Although she might successfully file a breach of contract claim against the life insurance company for the policy amount, under standard California contract law, she cannot claim compensation for her therapy bills unless the contract explicitly allowed for such compensation or if she could otherwise bring and substantiate a separate, related claim, such as for emotional distress.

The Distinction in a Nutshell

In essence, while personal injury claims might permit compensation for all related medical expenses (both physical and mental health), a breach of contract claim’s compensatory scope is generally restricted to the direct damages and losses resulting from the breach unless specific circumstances allow for additional recovery. The distinction is crucial to comprehend to align one’s expectations and legal strategy accordingly.

Understanding Your Rights and Legal Options

It’s imperative to recognize that each legal situation unfolds with its own set of complexities and nuances. Knowing your rights and understanding the respective legal frameworks are essential in navigating through the often complex pathways of personal injury and breach of contract claims.
Should you find yourself seeking representation in any legal matter, feel free to contact The Mines Law Firm, where our dedication to justice and mastery of California law can assist you in navigating through your legal journey.
Note: This information is intended to provide a general understanding and is not legal advice. Always consult with a professional attorney regarding your specific case and its applicability.