Civil law is extremely nuanced, especially in its definitions of specific terms. The technical difference between personal injury and bodily injury is distinct, although these two terms may sound similar. Understanding the difference is important if you wish to file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim in San Antonio, Texas. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer can help you with every aspect of your lawsuit, including navigating the difference between these two legal terms.

Legal Definition of a Bodily Injury and a Personal Injury

The legal definition of a bodily injury is a physical injury, illness or disease, most often used in relation to an accident or crime. If a person is assaulted, for example, the law would use the term bodily injury to describe any physical injuries suffered by the victim. The same is true if a victim was injured in an automobile accident. It is worth noting that bodily injuries do not encompass intangible injuries, such as emotional distress or mental anguish.

Bodily injuries are a subset of the larger area of personal injury law. The legal definition of a personal injury is any type of loss associated with an accident. This can include not only bodily injuries and physical injuries, but also property damage, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. The phrase personal injury is used more often in the civil justice system, while bodily injury is used more in the criminal system.

Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury Insurance

There is also an important distinction between bodily injury and personal injury from a car insurance perspective. Bodily injury insurance is a type of liability insurance that pays for someone else’s damages after a car accident (not the policyholder’s). Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, on the other hand, pays for the policyholder’s own losses, regardless of fault for the accident. Whether you will use bodily injury or personal injury insurance to recover depends on the fault laws in your state.

How Does a Bodily Injury Claim Work?

Texas is a fault-based insurance state. This means that the driver or party at fault for the car crash will be responsible for paying for damages. If you get injured in a car accident and wish to bring a claim, you will file it with the insurance company of the at-fault party for bodily injury liability insurance coverage. If you lived in a no-fault state, on the other hand, you would turn to your PIP insurance for first-party coverage, even if you did not cause the crash.

A bodily injury claim in Texas requires you to prove the policyholder’s fault to recover financial benefits. The steps you must take to receive bodily injury insurance benefits are as follows:

  1. Call the police from the scene of the car accident. Obtaining a police accident report is vital for your insurance claim.
  2. Go to a hospital. Waiting to see a doctor could give the insurer a reason to deny your claim. Seek professional medical attention right away.
  3. Call your own insurance company to report the wreck. Contact your car insurer to make an initial report of the accident as soon as possible.
  4. Call the other driver’s insurance company. If you believe the other driver is at fault for the crash, call his or her insurance company to file a claim, as well.
  5. Consult with a car accident attorney in San Antonio. Before you continue with the car insurance process, consult with an attorney for assistance and advice in going up against an insurance company.

A car accident lawyer can help you establish the other driver’s fault to prove your eligibility for bodily injury liability insurance coverage. Then, your lawyer can take over negotiations with the insurance provider on your behalf to ensure a just settlement award. A lawyer can guide you through all of the nuances of your claim. For more information about personal injury vs. bodily injury, contact Maloney & Campolo.