Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury: What’s the Difference?
Signing up for any insurance can be overwhelming. You just want to ensure you are protected without overpaying, but what kind of coverage do you need? Understanding insurance companies’ terms and the types of coverage they offer can help you decide how to protect yourself and your loved ones best.
At first glance, it may seem strange that your policy has both bodily and personal injury coverage. The two terms sound like they describe the same thing, but they cover two circumstances and protect you differently.
Personal Injury Vs. Bodily Injury Insurance
Although bodily injury and personal injury insurance are similar, there are some differences. They compensate for medical expenses from an injury after a car accident, but cover different people and pay out under different rules. Both types of coverage protect you, just in different ways.
Bodily injury coverage, also called liability insurance, shields you in case you injure someone else in an accident. On the other hand, personal injury is a civil action taken against the responsible party for damages.
What is Personal Injury?
Filing a personal injury case and seeking the help of an attorney to process your insurance ensures that you receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, or property loss.
How Does Personal Injury Insurance Protect You?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is no-fault insurance that covers you and your passenger’s medical bills if you are injured in a car accident. This policy type is called “no-fault” because it doesn’t matter who or what caused the accident–you are always covered.
A PIP policy compensates you for all the same kinds of injuries as bodily injury liability coverage. The difference is who is covered and how easily the policy pays out.
What is a Bodily Injury?
Bodily injuries vary from simple cuts and bruises to broken bones to seriously disabling or life-threatening injuries. If you or someone else requires medical treatment after a car accident, that is a bodily injury, even if it is relatively minor.
How Does Bodily Injury Insurance Protect You?
A bodily injury liability policy will compensate the injured party for medical bills, lost wages, and disabilities. The coverage also includes loss of income, pain, and suffering, reduction in quality of life, and funeral costs.
Bodily injury coverage, also called liability insurance, pays for other people’s medical costs resulting from a car accident you were at fault for causing.
The coverage includes passengers in your car, pedestrians, and people in other vehicles. All kinds of injuries are covered by bodily injury insurance.
Bodily injury insurance compensates anyone other than you for injuries they receive in a car accident that you caused. It’s important to note that liability insurance actually has two parts: bodily injury and property damage coverage.
Types of Liability Insurance
Liability insurance is required in California, but it would be important to have it even if it weren’t. Beyond covering the injuries of your passengers and anyone else involved in the accident, it protects you. If you cause an accident, you can be personally liable to the injured parties, and they can sue you to pay for their injuries.
Bodily injury coverage is your best line of defense against that. Under this policy, your insurance will defend any suit against you, cover your lawyers’ fees, and pay any judgment against you up to your policy limit.
Even in circumstances where you are not at fault or are only partially at fault, this coverage is invaluable. If you are not at fault, your insurance will still defend you, working to prove that the accident was caused by someone or something else. And if multiple people share the blame, your insurance will cover your portion up to policy limits.
California requires that you carry minimum liability coverage, but raising that policy amount can help protect you. With even minor or moderate injuries, the cost of medical treatment can quickly exceed the policy limits.
In the case of a severe injury, minimum limits likely won’t come close to covering the medical expenses. In those cases, the injured party can come after you personally for the amount that their bills are not covered by the insurance policy. A higher policy limit can help ensure that never happens to you.
Below are two types of liability insurance to take note of:
Property Damage Insurance
Property damage coverage pays for the damage to other peoples’ cars and personal property after an accident in which you were at fault. Like bodily injury coverage, property damage insurance is a part of your liability insurance policy.
The vehicle is likely the largest part of this claim, but the policy covers other property damages in the accident, including things like eyeglasses, laptops, or work equipment. However, liability insurance does not cover damage to your vehicle or personal property. For that kind of coverage, you will need a collision policy.
Bodily Injury Insurance
The bodily injury insurance protects you from unexpected medical expenses you’ve incurred from the accident. Like property damage coverage, raising the minimum required amount can help protect you by ensuring that your policy covers the other driver’s claim fully. Otherwise, they can come after you personally to make up the difference.
Comparing Property Damage and Bodily Injury Claims
Property damage and bodily injury claims are handled completely separately for the same accident. Property damage claims typically pay out much more quickly and easily. It’s just simpler and faster to get a clear picture of the total value of a property claim (the cost to repair or replace the vehicle) than it is to determine the full extent and cost of a personal injury claim.
What Does a PIP Policy Cover?
PIP will reimburse you for doctor and hospital visits, ambulance fees, and prescriptions. Depending on your individual policy, it may also cover other expenses such as a percentage of lost wages, hiring services because of your injuries, such as a home cleaning service, or funeral expenses.
Your PIP policy can be used with your health insurance policy to cover your deductible, co-pay, or other medical expenses not covered by your health insurance. PIP policies typically have a per-person maximum between $2,500 and $10,000, with $10,000 being the upper policy limit allowed by most insurance companies.
Is a PIP Policy Worth Purchasing?
This coverage is not mandatory in California, but it can be a very useful add-on to your car insurance policy. It is typically inexpensive and often well worth the cost. Making sure your PIP’s per person maximum is more than your health insurance deductible can help ensure you get the treatment you need after a car accident.
How Can No-Fault Coverage Help You?
PIP has a no-fault aspect that pays out faster and easier than bodily injury coverage. If someone else is to blame for the accident, receiving compensation from their bodily insurance policy can take considerable time.
The parties and insurance companies must agree on where the fault lies. However, if both parties don’t reach a settlement, they should bring the case to court. On top of that, they will only pay out one total payment. Therefore, the full extent of the injuries must be understood and proven before you will receive any compensation.
A personal injury lawyer can help you with your car accident injury claim, but the process will still take time. With a PIP policy, claims processing won’t be necessary. You can simply show proof of your medical bills to reimburse your insurance quickly and easily. There is also an option to submit individual bills for reimbursement until you reach your policy maximum.
Protect Yourself With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Understanding the types of insurance available to you and your loved ones can ease your financial burden when an accident happens. Having comprehensive personal injury coverage or bodily injury protection in hand ensures your safety and financial security.
If you’re unsure whether your insurance is right for your situation, we cal help you. Our team of experienced attorneys at Adamson Ahdoot can walk you through your options. Let our excellent personal injury lawyers help you navigate your case.
Call us at (800) 310-1606 today to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles.