Is a Bodily Injury Claim Different from a Personal Injury Claim? Learn More

posted by Chris Valentine

When you get hurt on the job, you file a personal injury claim. But how does that differ from a bodily injury claim? Learn the differences. Given that 200,000 people die every year from bodily injuries, millions more suffer injuries that are challenging to deal with.


If you’re looking to make a bodily injury claim after an accident, you need to know what that falls under. You might be better suited to making a personal injury case instead.

Here is everything you need to know about the differences between the two.

Understanding Bodily Injury

When you’re working on putting together a case after an accident, you might automatically assume that you need help with a personal injury case. However, if you meet different criteria, you might need to file for a bodily injury case rather than personal injury.

A bodily injury case differs from personal injury because personal injury is going to pertain to a specific type of injury. It means that a specific injury has occurred on a specific body, all because of the fault of someone else. While this term is more often thrown around in criminal cases, it’s relevant to an accident.

Bodily injury has its place when you’re trying to get compensation from an insurance company. While it’s challenging to get what you’re owed, when you have specifics in mind, your case appears much stronger.

What Are the Legal Aspects

In the context of insurance, bodily injury arises related to accidents and crashes. The most common place is for motor vehicle accidents, whether you’re talking about cars, trucks, or motorcycles. In some states, bodily injury has a specific role to play in certain cases.

When you claim medical coverage from an at-fault driver during an accident, then you can claim bodily injury. Since you have a specifically diagnosed issue related to the accident, you can claim specific bodily injury.

Bodily injury insurance can cover a number of people involved in an accident. This kind of liability insurance covers drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. When someone is insured but to blame for an accident, bodily injury insurance kicks in as a response.

Understanding Personal Injury

If you want to ensure that you’re not dealing with a personal injury case, you need to know the major differences. A personal injury claim differs from bodily injury in some subtle and not so subtle ways.

The point of personal injury is to compensate victims of accidents in a broad sense. You can be compensated for defamation of character or any major social injustice enacted by another person. The plaintiff in these cases is someone who was injured by the actions of another person.

If things get serious enough where death is the result of an accident, the plaintiff then becomes a representative of the deceased’s estate. In this case, the defendant is going to be the person who has caused the injury or the loss. When the death is blamed on a larger group or the defendant asserts blame to another party, the other party is known as a cross-defendant.

This is where things become much more complicated than in a bodily injury claim. The legal aspects are much hairier.

The Difference Is in Personal Injury Laws

In many states, you need to file your personal injury claim within a statute of limitations. You only have a couple of years to make your claim when you’re dealing with an accident. You can lose your right to file a personal injury lawsuit, while a bodily injury suit might have many different limits.

When it comes to liability, a jury can say that the plaintiff is partially or wholly at fault for the claim during a personal injury case. This isn’t what happens in the course of a bodily injury case. Comparative fault isn’t as powerful of a position when you’re trying to get help with a single and specific bodily injury.

The burden of proof in a personal injury case or a bodily injury case is much lower than in a criminal case. All that needs to be understood is whether or not the person is injured and what caused the injury. The fact that there aren’t so many mitigating circumstances makes it all much easier and much more straightforward.

Bodily Injury Compensation

When you’re trying to understand how you could be compensated for bodily injury, you need to know that you’re entitled to lots of different types of compensation. Much like a personal injury case, you’re eligible to get out-of-pocket expenses and medical treatment covered. You’re also allowed to ask for the money you lost in wages and future earning capacity to be covered.

While pain and suffering are potentially compensated, this is much more complicated with bodily injury coverage. Typically there is a strict limitation that only things directly related to the injury itself can be covered.

There is potential for claiming future expenses and losses with bodily injury. Since we know that an injured body apart might not show the signs of the injury for a long time, it could take a while before you realize how your life is impacted. In these cases, you get access to payment for disfigurement, any permanent disability, or even future therapy related to bodily injury.

Talk to these trusted professionals if you want to figure out whether you should be applying for personal injury or bodily injury coverage.

A Bodily Injury Claim Could Be Right

If you know exactly what the issue is and how you want it treated, go for a bodily injury claim. You might be able to win one of those cases much easier than a long and drawn out personal injury claim.

If you’re wondering whether or not to hire a lawyer, check out our guide for why you need one.

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