The Difference Between Personal And Bodily Injury
Is personal injury the same as bodily injury?
You may also be wondering, “Do I need both bodily injury and personal injury coverage on my auto insurance policy? Do they cover the same thing? Am I protected on the road?” Personal injury and bodily injury are two words that are often used interchangeably, but they have two entirely different meanings.
Your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage pays for injury-related medical and rehabilitation expenses, loss of work income, and in catastrophic cases, funeral and burial expenses. Bodily injury liability will cover payments for any physical injuries that occur in an accident you cause.
When you or someone you know gets hurt, you should know—or hire an attorney at Mickey Keenan, P.A. who knows—the difference in legal definitions and implications when it comes to personal and bodily injuries. With guidance, you can get the most for your injuries and have the potential to be made whole again.
What’s Needed to Legally Drive in Florida?
Florida only requires Personal Injury Protection (PIP), AKA no-fault insurance, and property damage liability (PDL) on your car insurance. That’s it.
If you are injured in a car accident, your PIP will cover 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000 and a $5,000 death benefit. You can see auto accidents involving more serious or permanent injuries, that PIP regularly falls woefully short of covering the full damages.
Because this type of insurance is all that’s needed to legally drive in Florida, many people wrongly assume that’s all they need. As Tampa car crash lawyers, we commonly see many drivers and injury victims suffer because they do not have the protections in the policy they believed they had.
Some injured drivers with “full coverage”, are shocked to find they may need to pay out of pocket for their care and damages if their policy isn’t enough to cover it. This is where voluntary policy additions can help. These important car insurance policy additions include:
- Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist (UM)
- Bodily Injury Liability Insurance (BIL)
We’ve talked about Uninsured Motorists before, but today we’ll focus on personal injury and Bodily Injury Liability Insurance.
What Is Personal Injury?
Personal injury claims are civil cases brought about in civil court. The plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is the person who is injured, and the defendant is the person against whom the case is brought.
A personal injury claim—if won in civil court—compensates the victim(s) of accidents and even applies to social wrongs (ex. defamation of character).
Compensation For Personal Injury
Damages awarded in a personal injury case are separated into economic or non-economic damages.
Economic damages are determined by one’s actual losses. This number is computed by adding up any medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and rehabilitation costs.
Non-economic damages are harder to value as pain and suffering have no monetary price. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer who will help you get the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
What Is Bodily Injury?
Bodily injury differs from personal injury in that bodily injury deals with a specific or particular injury to the body that is caused by yourself or someone else. Bodily injury, in terms of legality, is more commonly used in criminal cases. DUI offenders are the only drivers in Florida required to have this on their auto policy, but only for a three-year period after their license is reinstated.
The term is used in insurance contexts as well; most auto insurance policies have coverages for bodily injury liability. Any damages to injured parties will be covered up to the limit stated in your policy. You buy bodily injury liability (BIL or BI) coverage to be protected in the case of serious injury or even death to others in an accident involving your vehicle. This coverage applies when you are to some extent at fault for the accident. This policy will not only cover you, but relatives living with you, and anyone driving your car with your permission. BIL also can be used to defend your assets against liability claims.
On the other hand, if you are seriously injured by another driver and that driver has BI coverage, your injury attorney can file a claim under their policy. This is where many drivers are underinsured and may have not opted to carry this coverage.
Compensation For Bodily Injury
Bodily injury liability insurance pays for injuries you cause to another driver if you are at fault in the accident. It includes medical bills as well as lost wages and even funeral costs if applicable. Bodily injury does not cover the medical costs of injuries you may get in the accident, your PIP will cover that as long as you seek treatment within 14-days of the accident.
Compensation for bodily injury is usually reserved for physical injuries. Typical compensation for bodily injury covers out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, medical expenses, and treatment procedures (ex. Chiropractor visits). It is rare that one is compensated for pain and suffering, as that is not considered a physical injury.
One can also claim future expenses and losses when their injuries are so severe, they are impacted negatively for a long duration or lifetime. The type and amount of settlement depend on the severity of the injuries.
- Florida only requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP). Extra coverage for bodily Injury and/or Uninsured Motorists is optional.
- Your PIP will pay for injuries (up to a point) but you have only 14-days after the accident to seek treatment
- Bodily Injury coverage generally applies when you are to some extent at fault for the accident. This policy covers you, relatives living with you, and anyone driving your car with your permission.
- Review your auto insurance policy to see what you’re covered for.
Insurance will compensate the accident victims usually through the at-fault party’s insurance policy once your personal protections-PIP– has been used. But if the other driver is 1 in 5 in Florida, that is uninsured or underinsured, then your ability to seek justice for your injuries is limited.
Injured Through No Fault Of Your Own?
As you can see, it is important to revisit the terms and coverage of your auto insurance policy. Do not jeopardize your claim because you do not understand the nuances between personal and bodily injury.
Navigating the complex injury laws should not be done alone. A personal injury lawyer is well-versed in dealing with insurance companies and will make sure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you receive for your injury. If you find yourself injured and you are not sure how to proceed, our experienced personal injury lawyers at Mickey Keenan, P.A. would be happy to sit with you to discuss how to move forward.
If you were in an accident where an uninsured or underinsured driver has caused your injuries, we can discuss any legal options you may have against the negligent driver’s policy. To speak about the best options for your unique case, schedule your free consultation with our accident attorneys today at (813) 871-1300.