What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury?

Personal Injury On Monday, February 14, 2022

When someone gets hurt and wishes to file a claim, the terms personal injury and bodily injury may both be mentioned. While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they have entirely different definitions in the eyes of the law. Learn more about the distinction between them to understand the implications that may each have on your case.

In a Legal Context

There are two different types of justice systems: criminal and civil. In general, the term bodily injury is used in the criminal justice system while personal injury is used in the civil system. In a criminal justice context, a bodily injury refers to a physical injury caused by a criminal defendant, such as an injury in an assault or battery case. In most criminal cases, if a crime caused a bodily injury to one or more victims, the defendant will be punished more severely.

In the civil justice system, a personal injury can refer to all of the damages suffered by a victim – not just physical injuries, but also property damage and emotional distress. It also refers to a type of civil claim: a personal injury lawsuit. In this type of case, a victim can sue one or more defendants for financial compensation for causing his or her injuries. The purpose of a personal injury claim is to make the injured victim whole again.

In an Insurance Context

There is also a distinction between personal injury and bodily injury within the insurance system. Bodily injury insurance is a form of liability insurance, meaning it is available to pay for someone else’s injuries and related medical bills after an accident, not the policyholders. Automobile liability insurance shows that a driver has the means to pay for a victim’s losses, for example. By contrast, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance covers the policyholder’s own medical payments and other injury-related costs.

Bodily injury insurance is a type of third-party coverage, while personal injury protection is first-party insurance coverage. In Connecticut, since it is a fault insurance state, all drivers must carry at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance. This insurance will pay for victims’ injuries after a car accident if the policyholder is at fault. In a no-fault state, on the other hand, PIP insurance is a requirement to pay for the policyholder’s medical bills, regardless of fault.

The Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Connecticut, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a personal injury claim. Before you can recover compensation, however, you or your attorney will need to prove that the other party is at fault. The burden of proof in the civil justice system is a preponderance of the evidence – clear and convincing proof that establishes that the defendant is more likely to be at fault than not. The evidence that may be available to support your claim includes:

  • Photographs and videos
  • A copy of the police report
  • Eyewitness accounts and statements
  • Medical records and x-rays
  • Proof of income and lost wages
  • Records of communications from the insurance company
  • Property damage assessments

If you are submitting a bodily injury claim with someone else’s insurance provider, you will also need to use evidence to establish fault. If you can meet your burden of proof, you can recover financial compensation for your past and future losses through the other person’s bodily injury liability insurance, including economic and noneconomic damages. A lawyer can help you collect and display strong evidence to support your personal injury or bodily injury claim in Connecticut.

Turn to an Attorney for Assistance

If you were recently injured in an accident in Connecticut, contact the personal injury lawyers at Loughlin FitzGerald, P.C. for assistance. We can help you understand the difference between personal injury and bodily injury and how both concepts might apply to your case. Throughout the recovery process, we will be there for you and your family to make sure you have everything you need. To learn more about your claim, request a free consultation today.

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