What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury?

August 12, 2020

During a civil claim in Arizona, such as a car accident claim, you may hear the terms personal injury and bodily injury. While people often use them interchangeably, these phrases have different connotations from an insurance perspective. It is important to understand how they compare and contrast when dealing with an insurance company. Otherwise, you could make a mistake in the handling of your claim that hurts your ability to recover.

What Is Bodily Injury Coverage?

The most common context in which you will hear the phrases personal injury and bodily injury are in terms of auto insurance coverage. In Arizona, all drivers must carry mandatory types and amounts of automobile insurance. The required insurance types are at least $15,000 in property damage liability, $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident.

In an insurance context, bodily injury liability coverage is insurance specifically to cover the physical injuries and losses of motor vehicle crash victims. It refers to a victim’s personal injuries as well as property damages from a car accident. Bodily injury insurance will only pay for a victim’s damages – it will not cover the policyholder’s injuries. If you are the person who caused the crash, therefore, you will be unable to seek coverage through your own insurance provider unless you have purchased special additional insurance.

What Is Personal Injury Protection Insurance?

Personal injury protection insurance, often abbreviated to PIP, is the type of additional coverage that can pay for your injuries, damages and losses after an auto accident you caused in Arizona. Since Arizona is a fault-based liability state, drivers do not need to carry PIP insurance. After an accident, every injured victim will seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy instead. If a driver wants additional coverage, however, he or she could purchase PIP insurance.

In a no-fault state, on the other hand, all victims will request benefits from their own auto insurance providers, regardless of fault. In these states, PIP insurance is mandatory. If you have personal injury protection insurance as an extension to the minimum required coverage in Arizona, this could help cover your damages after a collision. Whether you caused the crash or not, your PIP insurance can help you pay for your medical bills and property repairs.

Compensation in Bodily Injury Cases

If you are filing an insurance claim seeking benefits from someone’s bodily injury liability coverage, you will be able to list several economic and noneconomic damages as part of your claim. The at-fault driver’s bodily injury and property damage liability insurance should pay for damages such as the amount it will take to repair your vehicle, replace other properties lost, pay for your present and future medical bills, replace lost wages, and more. The amount of your compensatory award will depend on the extent of your damages as well as how much insurance coverage the at-fault party has available.

Compensation in Personal Injury Cases

A claim that requests personal injury protection insurance will be similar to a bodily injury claim, except that you will seek coverage from your own provider instead of another driver’s. If you have PIP insurance, your company will offer benefits that replace your losses up to your plan’s maximum. These losses can include medical bills and vehicle damages. Again, the amount you receive will depend on your damages and the limits of your first-party PIP coverage. In some cases, both the other driver’s bodily injury coverage and your personal injury protection insurance will combine to cover your losses.

An insurance claim seeking personal injury protection coverage is not the same as a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit seeks compensation from the at-fault party, not the injured victim’s PIP insurance. If you have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you could recover compensation for physical pain, emotional suffering and punitive damages in addition to medical and property repair costs. A successful personal injury lawsuit could end in a jury verdict that pays more than an insurance settlement. Work with a personal injury lawyer after an accident in Arizona for legal advice about your specific insurance claim.