What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury?
Posted on June 23, 2021
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If you file a claim for an injury you suffered in a preventable accident in Texas, you may encounter one or both terms – personal injury and bodily injury. Although sometimes used interchangeably, these phrases have different meanings on a legal level. Understanding the difference can help you make more sense of your injury claim.
Legal Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury
Bodily injury is more commonly used in criminal cases than civil cases. Texas’ assault law, for example, defines this crime as intentionally or recklessly causing a bodily injury to another person. It is more common to see the phrase personal injury in civil law. Personal injury is the phrase used to describe physical and nonphysical injuries from the negligence or recklessness of another party. Negligence in personal injury law is any careless act or omission that causes injury to another person.
What Is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance?
There is another difference between bodily injury and personal injury from an insurance standpoint. They describe two different types of automobile insurance, found in two different types of insurance systems. There are fault and no-fault insurance system states. Fault states require all drivers to purchase bodily injury liability insurance.
Texas is a fault-based insurance state. In Texas, all motor vehicle operators must purchase at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person and $60,000 per accident. Bodily injury liability insurance will pay for victims’ medical bills and property damage after a car accident. The at-fault driver will use his or her bodily injury insurance to pay for victims’ losses.
What Is Personal Injury Protection Insurance?
In no-fault states, on the other hand, all drivers pay for their own losses, regardless of fault. They pay for medical bills using a type of first-party insurance known as personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Personal injury protection insurance pays for medical bills and related expenses regardless of who is at fault.
Texas has an option to purchase add-on personal injury protection insurance; however, unlike bodily injury liability insurance, PIP insurance is not mandatory. If you do elect to purchase PIP coverage, this can help you pay for your own medical bills and other expenses after a car accident if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.
The Implications of Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury
Depending on the laws in your state and the circumstances of your accident, you may encounter one or both legal terms. The main thing to know is that Texas is a fault state, so you are more likely to deal with bodily injury liability insurance than personal injury protection. If you wish to file a lawsuit against an at-fault party, you will have what is called a personal injury claim. If the other party is accused of a crime, there may be mentions of your bodily injuries.
During your personal injury claim, you will have to prove the losses you are claiming. If you are claiming physical injuries, for example, you may have to use medical records and photographs as evidence. If you are claiming lost wages, you would use evidence such as pay stubs and a letter from your employer. The same evidence may also apply to a bodily injury insurance claim in a no-fault state. Note, however, that you would not have to prove the defendant’s negligence in a no-fault state.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
Navigating your injury claim in Texas is easier with help from a Dallas personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can help you better understand the legal difference between bodily injury and personal injury, as well as calculate both accurately. If you are eligible for one or both types of insurance coverage, your lawyer can pursue maximum financial compensation on your behalf.
For more information about how an attorney can help with your claim, contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. today.