Dedicated to the pursuit of justice

What Is The Difference Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury?

March 30, 2021 Personal Injury Blog

After an accident, you may have heard the terms bodily injury and personal injury when filing your claim. While they may sound similar and be used interchangeably, they are different legal concepts. 


The Definition of Bodily Injury 

Bodily injuries, in legal terms, are injuries to the body caused by someone else. Cases involving bodily injury tend to be more specific and deal with particular injuries, often from car accidents. They are most commonly part of an insurance claim, while personal injury claims can be both an insurance claim and grounds for a lawsuit. 


What is Included in a Bodily Injury Claim

When you suffer from a bodily injury, you will receive compensation from your insurance company or the at-fault party’s carrier. You can claim damages for medical bills, lost wages, ongoing treatment costs, diminished earning capacity, and any out-of-pocket expenses related to the injuries. Compensation for future expenses can also be obtained, such as continuing physical therapy, disability, and income loss.

In California, all drivers must carry insurance with bodily injury liability limits of at least $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. If the at-fault driver’s policy limits do not cover the costs of the accident, you can hold the other driver personally responsible by filing a personal injury lawsuit against them. 


The Definition of Personal Injury 

The main difference between personal injury vs. bodily injury is that personal injury is a much broader term and can involve various injuries, both physical and emotional. Any injury, damage, or loss of the body, mind, or emotional well-being is considered a personal injury. These losses are known as an individual’s damages. 


What is Included in a Personal Injury Claim

The goal of a personal injury claim is to compensate the injured party to the degree that puts them back in the same physical, financial, and mental position as they were before the injury occurred. Victims can seek restitution from an individual, a group of people, a company, or an institution responsible for a personal injury, either through the insurance claims process or a lawsuit.

To hold an at-fault party liable for damages, you must prove that: 

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care.
  • Breached that duty by committing a negligent act or having a blatant disregard for your safety.
  • That breach of duty of care directly caused your injuries. 
  •  You suffered damages as a result (e.g., medical bills, lost income, pain, and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.)

For example, if a person slips on ice outside of a restaurant because the restaurant failed to ensure safety by removing the ice, the restaurant can be held liable. 


Why the Difference is Important

Bodily injury and personal injury cases involve different legal processes and burdens of proof. It is essential to understand their differences as you look to your insurance provider for help in an accident. A personal injury lawyer can advise you on the best course of action and help you craft a legal strategy to recover the compensation you deserve. Call CaseyGerry at  (619) 238-1811 and speak to a highly skilled San Diego Personal Injury Attorney in a free consultation today.