Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury
Personal Injury - December 30, 2019
In the aftermath of most accident cases, you will likely hear a few terms discussed. Two of those terms are likely to be personal injury and bodily injury. You may hear many people use these terms interchangeably, but they have different meanings when it comes to the law. Understanding the difference between these two terms will be helpful if you are a loved one are injured due to another person’s careless or negligent actions.
What is a personal injury?
Personal injury is a term used in civil law. Personal injury claims compensate victims of accidents or other incidents of social wrongs, such as defamation of character, wrongful arrest, wrongful eviction, etc. (which has nothing to do with a bodily injury).
In personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff is the person who is injured. The defendant is the person whose actions caused harm to the plaintiff.
In Illinois, there is a two-year statute of limitations in place for personal injury lawsuits to be filed. Filing a personal injury lawsuit after the two-year limit will almost always result in the case being dismissed by the court.
How to prove negligence in Illinois
In a personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries. In order to do so, they must prove:
- That the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- That the defendant failed to meet their duty of care towards the plaintiff
- That the direct cause of the plaintiff’s losses or injuries was because of the actions of the defendant
- That damages resulted from the defendant’s actions
Personal injury lawsuits are the route that most people recover personal injury damages. In Illinois, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the incident.
What is a bodily injury?
The term bodily injury typically refers to the specific injury to the body of a person that was caused by someone else’s negligence. As opposed to personal injury, bodily injury must refer to actual harm to a person’s body, such as the following:
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Whiplash injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
In Illinois, we typically see the term bodily injury appear concerning auto insurance. In fact, all drivers in Illinois must have the following:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
- $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries
Personal injury coverage and bodily injury insurance coverages are different. Personal injury generally implies any type of injury sustained in an accident, whether bodily injury, pain and suffering, wage loss, and more.
Bodily injury coverage typically covers losses directly tied the actual injury such as out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical expenses, treatment procedures such as x-rays, MRIs, therapy costs, and EMS transport. With bodily injury coverage, it is typically harder to recover pain and suffering compensation.
In many cases, victims of bodily injuries caused by other people’s negligence are left facing aggressive insurance companies who do not want to pay out a fair settlement. When this happens, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover all economic and non-economic damages the victim has sustained. A Chicago personal injury attorney can guide you through this complex process.