The Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury Claims

The legal system is complex, particularly when it comes to areas of compensation for injuries or damages suffered during an automobile accident. If you are the defendant, you may have had another motorist open a claim of bodily injury or personal injury against you. These are the two ways individuals pursue compensation after being involved in an accident.

Bodily Injury Liabilities

There are several states that assign fault ratings when an accident occurs, and for many states, a driver is only eligible to claim damages from the other driver if the personal fault level is below 50%. Though the insurance company pays for the plaintiff’s damages, bodily injury liability is an extension of the coverage. If you are determined to be at fault, the insurance company must pay for the medical bills and property damage incurred as a result of the accident.

Personal Injury Claims

The insurance that pays for a bodily injury claim does not pursue filing personal injury claims. Through the help of a personal injury lawyer Durham, the plaintiff will file a suit in small claims court. It will still involve your insurance company, but the company is included as a third-party in the litigation. A personal injury claim has to make its way through the court system, though insurance companies generally prefer to settle with the plaintiff before the case goes that far. Usually, mediation and negotiation take place between the company, the lawyer and the plaintiff for a lump sum settlement.

Covered Damages

Whether you are involved with a personal injury claim or bodily injury liability claim, there are several damages entitled to an award. These include:

  • Medical costs
  • Recurring medical treatment fees
  • Lost wages for recovery time
  • Repair or replacement for property damage
  • Lost wages due to diminished work ability

While a plaintiff may try to file both claims, there is generally one settlement award for each incident. Retaining a lawyer and carrying comprehensive insurance can reduce personal liability for the award amounts.