Bodily injury is a type of auto liability coverage, while personal injury is a type of civil case. They both refer to injuries suffered by traffic accident victims. If you were hurt in a collision caused by another driver, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries and treatment in one of two ways:
- Filing an insurance claim based on the at-fault driver’s bodily injury policy
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit and taking the case to trial in civil court
A lawyer can help you understand your legal options and your right to pursue a payout after an injury.
Most States Require Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Most states require drivers to carry bodily injury liability as part of their auto insurance coverage. This policy is mandatory in many states because it ensures accident victims have a way to recover compensation for their medical care after the policyholder causes a collision.
For example, according to the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI), all drivers must carry at least $15,000 for bodily injury to one accident victim and at least $30,000 for bodily injury to all victims in an accident. This is in addition to $25,000 in vehicle repair coverage.
Alternatively, some states have “no-fault” policies in place to try to ensure everyone involved in an accident has access to coverage for their bodily injuries. In theory, this should reduce the number of personal injury cases that flood the courts. This is known as personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
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Taking Action to Recover Bodily Injury Damages
The difference between bodily injury and personal injury affects how you pursue damages and the types of damages you can collect. With the former, you are seeking a payout based on the at-fault driver’s bodily injury coverage by filing an insurance claim.
This coverage provides a payout for documented medical care costs and expenses related to the accident, up to policy limits. Navigating this claims process and negotiating a settlement with the driver’s insurer is the most common way accident victims receive compensation for their damages.
You may still work with a personal injury attorney when pursuing a settlement, as they can file your claim and negotiate on your behalf. If you cannot reach a fair conclusion through the claims process or it is a better option for your case, you may decide to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit.
When Personal Injury Lawsuits Are Possible
While bodily injury coverage refers almost exclusively to traffic accidents, personal injury refers to any type of injury that occurs as a result of:
- Someone else’s negligence
- Strict liability
- Intentional acts
This means a personal injury lawsuit may stem from many different incidents, including traffic accidents, falls, drownings, dog bites, and much more. If you suffered injuries and believe someone else’s actions are to blame, you can reach out to a lawyer to discuss your rights and options based on the facts of your unique case.
Building a Personal Injury Lawsuit Based on Your Accident Injuries
To secure compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove fault and liability, as well as provide evidence of your relevant expenses and losses. This will include the expenses related to your injuries, potentially including:
- Medical treatment and care costs
- Lost wages and other income
- Likely future expenses
- Intangible damages, including your pain and suffering
Every state has its own rules for how long you can wait to file a personal injury civil suit. In Louisiana, you have up to one year under Civil Code (CC) Art. 3492. Beyond this deadline, you lose your right to file and recover damages.
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At the Morris Bart law firm, we represent victims in insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. We are a contingency fee firm that seeks compensation for our clients and their families.
Contact our New Orleans legal experts today to speak with us about your options after an injury accident. You can reach us now by calling (504) 613-4771. Your consultation with our lawyers is free, and there is no obligation to sign up representation.
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