When a person is injured in an accident, there are two terms that you may hear referred to in court. While they both sound similar, the usage, meaning, and context behind each word are drastically different. Knowing these differences will help you if you are in a situation where either needs to be used.
Each term is used in a different way to refer to the physical harm that a person suffers after an accident, but there are certain key factors that determine which term is used, they are not interchangeable.
Legal Definition of Bodily Injury Vs. Personal Injury
Bodily injury is most often the term used in criminal cases when one person harms another, such as through assault. The at-fault party has afflicted bodily injury to the victim and is thus liable for the damages.
The amount of bodily injury that a person sustains in a case such as this can impact two things: the severity of charges the at-fault party faces, and the number of damages that can be awarded to the victim.
Most people are required to have some form of bodily injury protection when insuring a vehicle that they intend to drive. Rather than protect them from losses in an accident, this coverage is necessary to pay for damages if the policyholder is the cause of an accident. In other words, it pays for the damages to the victim.
Personal injury is used in civil cases to refer to the damages that a victim suffers as a result of an accident that was not their fault. This can refer not only to physical injuries that a person suffers, such as cuts, bruises, broken bones and other things, but also to other types of losses.
Particularly, personal injury focuses on the financial damages incurred as a result of the accident. This includes but is not limited to medical bills and expenses, continuing care, medication rehabilitation, etc. It also includes lost wages or ability to earn, travel expenses, legal fees, and loss of property.
Personal injury may also cover emotional damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of relationships as a result of an accident. It’s important to talk with a personal injury attorney if you are injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault to fully understand your rights, responsibilities, and what type of compensation you may be eligible for.
Insurance Coverage For Accidents
Another thing that separates bodily injury from a personal injury is the fact that most people are required to carry some amount of bodily injury insurance coverage in the event that they cause a motor vehicle accident. This coverage protects the other party in the event that you cause an accident. However, it does not cover your injuries in an accident. For that, you need what is known as personal injury protection or PIP coverage.
This allows you to file a claim with your own insurance for the damages and injuries you sustain. Even those who are the victim of an accident may be able to file with their own insurance to get some compensation while they await the results of their case.
Personal injury cases are not typically limited by the amount of insurance coverage the at-fault party has, but rather by the decision of the court based on the evidence presented. This means that even if a person only has $10,000 of bodily injury coverage and they caused an accident that got you hurt, your case is likely worth many times greater than that amount.
MR Civil Justice is Here to Help
We understand that understanding the legal differences between bodily injury and personal injury can be confusing and that’s why our talented attorneys are here to help. If you are involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, give us a call today!