If you get injured in an accident in Arizona, you may hear one or both of the following phrases: personal injury and bodily injury. Although these terms may seem the same on the surface, they have two very different legal meanings. Understanding the differences between the two can help you file the correct type of claim and adequately protect your legal rights as a plaintiff.
What Is Bodily Injury Coverage?
One difference between personal injury and bodily injury lies within the insurance system. These two phrases refer to two different types of insurance coverage: personal injury protection (PIP) and bodily injury liability insurance. PIP coverage is a requirement in no-fault states. It covers a driver’s medical bills after a car accident, regardless of who is at fault for the collision.
Bodily injury insurance, on the other hand, covers someone else’s medical bills after a wreck. Bodily injury insurance is used in fault states, such as Arizona. There is another difference in the definition of bodily injury vs. personal injury within the civil justice system. Bodily injury is a subset of personal injury law. It specifically refers to physical injuries, illnesses or conditions that stem from someone else’s careless or reckless acts.
Personal injury, on the other hand, is a broader legal term that can refer to any type of loss related to an accident, including physical injuries, emotional distress and financial losses. Filing a personal injury claim in Arizona can mean bringing a cause of action for compensation for many different types of injuries and losses, not just bodily injuries.
Legal Options for a Personal Injury
There are many different types of personal injury cases in Arizona. Some of the most common are motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, workplace accidents, and defective product accidents. If you have grounds to file a personal injury claim, it means you can bring a lawsuit against one or more parties for negligently or intentionally causing your accident and related injuries.
Most personal injury cases are based on the legal theory of negligence. Negligence means that a party has been careless and did not act according to what is reasonable, resulting in injury or harm to others. You may be eligible for financial compensation during a personal injury lawsuit if you or your attorney can prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached this duty and caused your injuries.
If you think you have grounds to file a personal injury claim after a preventable accident in Arizona, act quickly to file the paperwork. Arizona’s statute of limitations gives you no more than two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit, in most cases. You may have less time than this, however, if you are filing a claim against the government.
Your other legal option for a personal injury may be personal injury protection insurance if you have this type of coverage. PIP insurance is not a requirement in Arizona, however. Since Arizona is a fault-based insurance state, you will most likely bring a bodily injury liability claim against the other driver’s insurance after an auto accident instead.
Legal Options for a Bodily Injury
If you suffered a bodily injury in an auto accident, one legal option may be filing a liability claim against the other driver’s insurance carrier. The other driver’s bodily injury liability insurance may cover some or all of your losses, including hospital bills, ongoing medical care, surgeries, medications and medical devices. The other driver’s property damage insurance, on the other hand, will pay for repairs to your damaged vehicle. Again, whether you get into a car accident in a fault or no-fault state will determine what type of insurance you will use for financial coverage.
If you need more information about the difference between personal injury and bodily injury, contact a personal injury lawyer in Glendale today.