Bodily injury and personal injury are similar terms, but they refer to different things. Bodily injury is a term frequently used in the insurance industry. It refers to a type of car liability insurance coverage that covers the injuries or even fatalities in a car accident that you are found to be liable for.
Personal injury refers to a type of legal action. This is a civil suit that can be filed after a person suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligence. In a personal injury lawsuit, you can sue for the cost of the bodily injuries you suffered, as well as other damages.
There are other circumstances in which these terms may be used in a different context. In a criminal court case, bodily injury can describe the injuries suffered in an assault or similar crime. In civil court, personal injury covers all damages as a result of wrongful death or accident.
These terms aren’t interchangeable, but you may often hear them used together in certain circumstances.
What Does Bodily Injury Insurance Cover?
Bodily insurance coverage is mandatory in most states, and the minimum auto insurance coverage limits of the policy can vary from place to place. In Texas, the law requires you to have a minimum of $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, for a total of $60,000 per accident. This covers the bodily injuries to other people hurt in the accident besides yourself.
In some circumstances, this coverage may pay for the lost wages and time off work that the injured parties suffered as a result of the accident. If you are taken to court, your bodily insurance coverage may help to defray the cost of legal fees as well.
The main difference is that in a personal injury claim, the damages considered include nonquantifiable losses, such as pain and suffering.
What Is Considered to Be a Bodily Injury?
Bodily injury includes the actual physical damage done to a person. This can include cuts, bruises, broken bones, and a range of other injuries from minor to catastrophic.
In car accident cases, injuries can be complicated, multiple, and extremely severe. This can lead to medical bills so high that the policy limits of your coverage may be reached before the victim has even left the hospital.
In such an event, a car accident injury victim may proceed to file a personal injury claim, legal action, against you, other liable parties, or his own insurance company.
What Situations Lead to Personal Injury Cases?
When a person sustains an injury or some kind of quantifiable damage to their property and it was another party’s fault, they can file a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawyers will help you to determine if negligence resulted in your accident and who can be held liable.
Personal injury attorneys are often called upon in situations such as:
- Premises liability: When you are injured on another’s property, such as falling down at a grocery store.
- Defective products: When you are hurt by a malfunctioning product, like an exploding pressure cooker with a defective seal, or when a defective medical device causes other injuries.
- Car accidents: When the other driver, a municipal agency, or some other element or entity caused you to become injured in a crash.
- Workplace accidents: While you generally cannot sue your employer, other parties can still be responsible for people who are hurt on the job. This can result in a personal injury claim.
- Dangerous drugs: When medications are released for sale to the public, they can often be defective and cause other bodily injuries or illnesses. Personal injury lawyers can help with these claims.
- Medical malpractice: When a doctor’s actions or lack of action results in injury to a patient.
- Nursing home abuse: If a person is harmed by caretakers in a facility that is meant to protect and care for them, a personal injury case is appropriate.
In a personal injury claim, you may suffer bodily injury. However, the parameters of the law may allow you to pursue legal action against the negligent party to obtain more than the cost it takes to treat your injuries.
What Kind of Damages Are Considered When I Suffer a Bodily Injury and File a Personal Injury Claim?
In the eyes of the law, your life should be made whole by financial compensation whenever possible. This can include things like the emotional damage caused by the accident, the changes in your quality of life, the pain you endured, and other intangible losses.
Specific damages vary from case to case, however, the most common damages that are considered in a personal injury claim can be:
Your Medical Expenses
Personal injury always involves some kind of medical expense. This is a quantifiable cost with a value that is easy to ascertain from the medical bills and receipts you will have. If you have continuing treatment costs, they can be calculated, adjusted for inflation, and added to the damages.
Medical devices, therapy, doctor visits, hospital bills, prescriptions, co-payments, mobility devices, and all related expenses can be accounted for in your medical expenses.
Loss of Property
In some accidents, your property may become damaged. If you were not involved in the accident your items would still be intact and therefore you are entitled to pursue compensation for them. These losses are generally related to the loss of your car, a phone, a personal computer, or your clothing.
Loss of Wages or Income
You are likely to miss work in order to be treated and recover from your injuries. Your wages should be compensated through a personal injury claim.
If you are unable to return to work, lost commissions, missed out on promotions, and missed out on the opportunity to collect these forms of income because of your accident, these damages can also be considered.
Accidents and trauma can often result in the victim suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental anguish. These are considered in the non-economic damages and can be awarded in a personal injury claim.
Pain and Suffering
This is also considered another non-economic damage in a personal injury case. When another party’s negligent behavior causes you to suffer bodily injury, you are likely to suffer and feel pain.
Obviously, there is no dollar amount that can be uniformly assigned to every individual. We all experience pain differently. However, since pain cannot be undone, financial compensation can be offered instead.
Learn More About the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury Today
If you have suffered a bodily injury due to the negligence of another party, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you pursue compensation.
The personal injury lawyers of Buzbee Law Firm have recovered over $10 billion for clients like you. Contact us today to learn more about pursuing a personal injury claim for your injuries.