What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury?
Personal injury is a term used in civil court cases. It refers to the expenses a person incurs from an accident someone else causes. Bodily injury is often referenced in criminal cases. It describes the injuries someone sustains in an assault or another crime committed against them. However, “bodily injury” also appears in personal injury cases.
The primary difference between personal injury and bodily injury is the legal context people use to reference them. Each case has different requirements for evidence and proving liability. The terms can also have different meanings depending on the state where the accident occurs.
What Is Bodily Injury Insurance?
Bodily injury involves the physical harm someone causes another person in an accident, such as broken bones, burn injuries, or nerve damage. Liability insurance with bodily injury coverage pays the victim’s medical expenses due to their injury.
For example, auto insurance with bodily injury coverage pays for the cost of treatment for the victim of a car accident. It can also cover other losses, such as lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses.
How to File a Bodily Injury Claim in Austin
In Texas, bodily injury coverage is mandatory. Anyone injured in a car crash that wasn’t their fault can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
State law requires Texas residents to have third-party bodily injury coverage with these minimum limits:
- $30,000 per person for bodily injury for one person
- $60,000 for two or more people for bodily injury
- $25,000 for property damage
Bodily injury covers expenses for another person injured in a crash the policyholder causes. The policyholder could purchase optional medical payments coverage, which covers medical expenses. They could also opt to buy personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which pays medical bills and lost wages. When you purchase car insurance in Texas, the insurance company is required to offer these coverages to you. If you choose not to buy them, you must make your choice in writing.
Proving Fault in a Personal Injury Case
You can hold the at-fault party liable for the injuries you sustain in an accident. However, evidence is essential to prove what happened. The evidence you need will depend on the type of accident and other circumstances but could include:
- Proof of lost income from the inability to work due to the injury
- Video surveillance footage of the incident
- Photos from the accident scene
- Copies of medical records and medical bills
- Records of communication with the insurance company
- Repair estimates for the damage to personal property
- Copy of the police/incident report
Expenses Included in a Bodily Injury Claim
The compensation recovered in a bodily injury claim can cover specific expenses related to the accident, such as:
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Hospital stays, rehabilitation, prescriptions, and other medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
You can pursue a personal injury case if someone else’s negligence causes your injury or illness. Individuals and companies owe others a duty to act reasonably to avoid causing harm. If their negligence leads to an accident that injures someone, they can be liable for the victim’s losses.
Common types of personal injury cases include:
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability
- Defective drugs
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Dog bites
- Construction accidents
- Slip and falls
- Workplace accidents
- Product liability
- Train accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- E-scooter accidents
Compensation in a Personal Injury Case
When you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the compensation you receive might cover your:
- Emotional distress
- Scarring or permanent loss of limb
- Ambulance services, doctor’s appointments, and other medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
An insurance adjuster will handle your case if you file a claim. They investigate the incident and look for evidence to determine whether the policyholder is at fault. They might offer a settlement if liability is clear. However, they also want to save money and avoid paying claims whenever possible. That means they’ll look for reasons to deny the claim or get away with settling for the lowest amount.
If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, you’ll have to file a personal injury lawsuit. That requires filing your case with the appropriate civil court and preparing for a possible future trial.
Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases
Typically, a bodily injury claim isn’t limited to a specific deadline. However, every insurance company is different. Some policies require claims to be filed “promptly.” Since that term is broad, filing immediately after the accident is beneficial.
There is also a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. In Texas, the statute allows a two-year timeframe to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. That means you must initiate your lawsuit within two years of the accident to seek compensation.
If the incident causes someone’s death, the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased’s could file a wrongful death action within two years of the date of death. If none of these people bring an action within three months after the death, the deceased’s executor or administrator of the estate may do so.
Get Help from an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Knowing the difference between personal injury and bodily injury is crucial to pursue the appropriate case for your situation. You must understand state laws and procedures to hold the negligent party liable and recover the compensation owed to you.
Loewy Law Firm has decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured clients in Austin. We can represent you in your personal injury case to hold the at-fault party accountable for their misconduct. You will receive personal attention and support until the end.
If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, call Loewy Law Firm at (512) 987-9858 or contact us online for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer today.