Bodily injury and personal injury are two very similar terms, but they actually refer to two very different concepts. A personal injury is a type of legal claim where you must prove a person or entity committed an act of negligence that directly caused your injuries, allowing you to collect compensatory damages.
On the other hand, bodily injury refers to specific physical damages you sustained during the accident that you may claim compensation for. Understanding the complexities of personal and bodily injury can help you determine whether you qualify for a settlement in Colorado civil court.
Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury can refer to any type of physical or emotional damage you sustain as a result of someone else’s negligence. To prove the presence negligence and thus prove for qualification for damages, you will need to work with your attorney to establish the presence of four specific elements.
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care.
- The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care.
- The breach of care directly caused the personal injury.
- You sustained damages as a result of your personal injury.
You can claim both economic and non-economic damages in a personal injury case. Economic damages involve your financial losses, while non-economic damages concern your physical and emotional pain and suffering. Common damages in personal injury claims include the following.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of earning potential
- Chronic pain and disability
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of consortium
What Is Bodily Injury Coverage?
You will likely hear the term bodily injury while signing up for car insurance coverage. All drivers in the state of Colorado must carry the following minimum amounts of insurance in case they cause a car accident.
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person per accident
- $50,000 in total bodily injury coverage per accident
- $15,000 in property damage per accident
In this context, bodily injury involves a specific injury that someone else is responsible for causing. Bodily injury can encompass physical harm, the onset of an illness or disease, and the costs associated with treating the injury. As a result, bodily injury compensation is meant to treat the injury itself, and recover any out-of-pocket losses.
You may be able to receive compensation for your past and future medical expenses, including surgeries, medications, and x-rays. You may also claim transportation costs, lost wages, and lost earning capacity. You can receive compensation for your physical pain and suffering, but not emotional damages.
What Is Personal Injury Protection Insurance?
You may also hear the term personal injury protection (PIP) while navigating the insurance claims process following an accident. PIP coverage differs from personal injury claims because it is a type of optional insurance policy you can purchase in addition to your regular liability coverage, not a legal claim.
PIP coverage pays for your injuries, out-of-pocket expenses, and treatment costs following an accident. Since Colorado is a fault-based insurance state, the at-fault driver in your accident is responsible for paying for your damages. PIP pays for your damages regardless of who was at-fault, as well as pay for any damages in the event of a lawsuit.
If you need assistance navigating the complex Colorado insurance process, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Personal injury attorneys handle a wide range of accident claims, understand the difference between various insurance terms, and can help you determine what compensation you may qualify for.