Bodily injury and personal injury are often used interchangeably in everyday conversations, but these two terms carry different meanings within a legal context. So what is the difference between bodily and personal injury?
The attorneys at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC understand how confusing it can be to encounter terms that seem to have similar meanings but are used differently. In this article, we will go into the key differences and similarities between bodily injury and personal injury. If you still have questions after reading the following information or are ready to begin the process of securing compensation for an injury, do not hesitate to contact our law offices to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.
What Is Bodily Injury?
Bodily injury specifically refers to physical harm suffered to the body after an accident, including:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Neck and back injuries
- Head trauma
While the term bodily injury is more frequently referenced in criminal cases where a defendant is being charged with a crime, it is also used in civil cases when an injured victim is trying to recover compensation from the person who caused them harm.
Depending on the accident in which you were injured, the at-fault party might carry bodily injury coverage.
Maryland state law currently requires drivers to maintain bodily injury liability coverage, which is intended to cover things like medical bills should the policy holder injure someone else in a car crash. Trucking companies are also required to carry insurance that covers the cost of a bodily injury, although minimum liability requirements differ depending on the gross vehicle weight (GVW) and whether a truck will travel intrastate or interstate.
Homeowners in the state of Maryland are not required by law to purchase or maintain homeowners insurance, although many lenders refuse to provide mortgages to buyers who do not purchase coverage. When shopping for a homeowners insurance provider, homeowners should select a policy that provides coverage for bodily injury. This will protect both the homeowner and the victim in the event that someone is injured on the property.
What Is Personal Injury?
Personal injury is a more general term, often used in the context of civil cases. Unlike bodily injury, physical injury encapsulates a more complete picture of the harm that a person has suffered because of an accident or injury. Physical, mental, and emotional damages are all covered under the term personal injury.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident and now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or have significant levels of anxiety that are triggered by being in a motor vehicle, it would fall under the umbrella of personal injury.
What Is the Difference Between Bodily and Personal Injury?
The main differences between bodily injury and personal injury are as follows:
- The threshold for proving bodily injury is higher than for personal injury
- Bodily injury may be referenced in either criminal or civil cases
- Personal injury is used in civil claims
- Bodily injury refers to physical harm caused to a person’s body
- Personal injury references physical, mental, and emotional damages
In the context of filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for damages after an accident, it is important to distinguish between bodily and personal injury. Whether you were injured in a car accident, truck collision, or on another person’s property, the party responsible for paying will usually be the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurance company will not hesitate to use any seemingly innocent mistake to deny your claim altogether.
If in doubt about any questions an insurance adjuster might have about your bodily or personal injuries, politely decline to answer and refer them to your attorney.
PIP Coverage vs. Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Maryland state law requires all drivers to carry the following bodily injury liability coverage minimums:
- $30,000 per person per accident
- $60,000 total per accident
Bodily injury liability insurance is intended to protect the financial status of the at-fault party in a car accident while also providing full and fair compensation to the injured victim. The cost of things like medical bills and lost wages are paid by the insurer, not the driver.
Drivers in the state of Maryland are not legally required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Also referred to as no-fault coverage, drivers may elect to add this coverage to their auto insurance. PIP coverage covers the cost of certain damages regardless of fault, meaning you may collect compensation from your own insurer even if you were at fault or there were no other drivers involved in the collision.
Compensation typically available through PIP coverage includes:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- In-home services, including nursing services or household cleaners
- Funeral and burial expenses
There are limitations to compensation available from PIP coverage, including property damage or medical bills that exceed your current coverage limits. PIP coverage limits are traditionally low, but may provide more complete coverage when paired with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to rely on both the other driver’s auto insurance coverage as well as your PIP coverage. If the other driver left the scene of the accident or did not have auto insurance, your PIP and UM/UIM coverage will cover your damages.
Can I Be Compensated for Bodily and Personal Injury After an Accident?
It is possible to be compensated for both bodily and personal injuries after an accident. When filing a personal injury claim, your attorney will help evaluate your case and determine what you are eligible to be compensated for. This may include the physical injuries you suffered, as well as the emotional and psychological impact of the accident or your injuries.
At Belsky & Horowitz, LLC, we fight for our clients to receive the maximum compensation for their injuries and damages. Whether you are dealing with medical bills, lost wages, costly auto repairs, or other financial, emotional, or physical damages related to your injury, we can advocate on your behalf. Contact our office by filling out our convenient online form or giving us a call to schedule your free case evaluation today.
How Is Pain and Suffering Proven?