What Is the Difference Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury?
Posted in Personal Injury on March 27, 2019
The area of personal injury law uses the terms of bodily injury and personal injury often. You may hear people use these terms interchangeably over the course of an insurance settlement negotiation or lawsuit, but they have entirely separate definitions and different legal meanings. Understanding the implications of each, and each term’s potential relevance to your case, starts with examining what they mean more deeply.
What is Personal Injury?
Personal injury is a type of civil lawsuit in Missouri. A Kansas City personal injury claim provides an outlet of financial relief to you as the victim of wrongdoing, such as drunk driving accident or defamation. Personal injury law comes with various elements and legal aspects you must follow as a plaintiff.
- Liability issues. Missouri is a pure comparative fault state. More than one party could share liability for a personal injury accident. Even if the courts find you 99% at fault for an accident, you could still receive compensation. The courts will reduce your financial recovery by your percentage of fault.
- Statute of limitations. You only have a certain amount of time by which you or a lawyer must file a personal injury claim. The time limit changes from state to state. In Missouri, you have five years from the date of your accident or discovery of injuries to bring a personal injury lawsuit.
- Elements of proof. In a personal injury lawsuit, you or your attorney bear the burden of proving the defendant’s responsibility for the accident. This will take establishing duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Hiring a lawyer makes the burden of proof much easier.
A successful personal injury case could result in compensation to reimburse you for physical, emotional, and financial damages arising out of the accident. You could qualify for both economic and noneconomic damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damages.
What is Bodily Injury?
Bodily injury refers to a specific physical injury you sustained in the accident – not the area of law. A bodily injury can describe any physical injury that someone else caused, such as broken bones, lacerations, head or brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and burns. Although you may have suffered other types of injuries, such as emotional distress or mental anguish, the courts reserve the term bodily injury to describe physical injuries.
If you suffer a bodily injury in an accident involving someone else’s negligence, you may qualify for personal injury compensation. Your lawyer will need to prove the existence of bodily injury, as well as the fault of the negligent party. An attorney can help prove your case through the evidence against the defendant, as well as proof of your bodily injuries. Proof of injuries can include medical documentation, police reports, and expert witness testimony. If you did not suffer a bodily injury, you may only have grounds for a property-damage-only claim in Missouri.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Auto insurance is one area where the difference between personal injury and bodily injury can be especially confusing – and important. Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is an optional type of auto insurance in Missouri that covers the policyholder’s medical damages from a car accident. Regardless of who caused your accident, you could receive coverage for your medical bills if you have PIP insurance.
Bodily injury protection, on the other hand, is a type of liability coverage that pays for the costs of injuries to other people involved in the wreck. Missouri insurance laws make it mandatory for all drivers to carry at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury protection insurance. PIP insurance is optional. Understanding the differences between these two insurance types can help you during a car accident claim.