What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury?

As an accident victim in California, you may encounter both terms: personal injury and bodily injury. Although they sound similar, they have different definitions on a legal level. There is a big difference between filing a bodily injury claim and a personal injury case. Work with a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento for more information about the nuances between these two terms.

Personal Injury vs. Bodily Injury

Personal injury is a broad legal term that can encompass bodily injuries. The phrase “bodily injury,” however, does not encompass personal injury. A personal injury can refer to any type of harm that occurred in an accident, including physical, emotional and financial harm.

When someone mentions a personal injury, he or she could be describing a physical injury such as a broken bone or traumatic brain injury. The person may also be describing emotional harm, including mental anguish or post-traumatic stress disorder. Personal injury can also refer to financial losses, such as medical expenses and property damage.

In this way, personal injury is a much less specific term than bodily injury. Bodily injury only describes a physical injury to a victim’s body. A bodily injury refers to an injury or illness suffered in an accident, such as a bone fracture, soft-tissue injury, muscle strain, burn or laceration. It does not reference mental, emotional, psychological or financial harm.

What Is a Bodily Injury Claim?

A bodily injury claim specifically refers to a claim filed for bodily injury liability coverage from the insurer of an at-fault party after an accident. In California, every driver must carry at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability insurance for injury or death to one person and $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per accident. If a driver causes a car accident, all injured victims can seek reimbursement for their medical costs through that driver’s bodily injury insurance.

What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is a legal claim brought against one or more defendants for allegedly inflicting injuries and other losses against a victim. This type of claim allows an accident victim to seek financial compensation to make him or her whole again. A successful personal injury lawsuit will require the defendant to pay for the victim’s medical bills, property repairs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Personal injury can also refer to a type of car insurance. In no-fault states, drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance to pay for their own losses after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. A personal injury protection insurance claim is not the same thing as a personal injury lawsuit. An insurance claim will end in a settlement or the rejection of financial benefits, while a lawsuit will end in a verdict given by a jury after a court trial.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you were recently injured in an accident in Sacramento, a personal injury attorney can help you with an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. An attorney can return to the scene of your accident and collect evidence. Then, the attorney can determine the defendant and help you prove fault to an insurance company, judge or jury.

A lawyer can assist you with an insurance claim by contacting the insurance company on your behalf, as well as negotiating with an insurance claims adjuster for a fair and full settlement. If the insurance company refuses to offer an adequate amount for your losses, your lawyer can take the defendant to trial by filing a personal injury lawsuit for you.

Whether you have a personal injury lawsuit or a bodily injury claim in Sacramento, an attorney can help you fight for the justice and financial compensation you deserve. Contact a lawyer from Eric Ratinoff Law Corp today for more information about your specific claim.