If you’ve recently been in an accident, you’ve probably heard the terms bodily injury and personal injury get thrown around. While they might sound similar, there’s a significant difference between a personal injury vs. bodily injury in the eyes of the law.
You’ll find that knowing the difference between the two is especially important when filing for an insurance claim. Let’s take a closer look at the legal definitions of both terms.
A personal injury can involve a broad spectrum of lawsuits related to physical injuries sustained during accidents, or emotional and psychological injuries sustained during various types of civil wrongs. For example, a personal injury case can involve a car accident or an accident at work, but it can also be a defamation case where your reputation is unjustly harmed. Most commonly, the party seeking compensation (plaintiff) is the person who is injured. However, in cases where the victim died as the result of an accident, the plaintiff becomes the representative of the deceased’s estate (i.e., his family or inheritors).
Every state has different laws regarding personal injury suits. Here are some factors to consider when pursuing a personal injury claim:
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations dictates how much time, after an accident, you have to file for a personal injury lawsuit. In the U.S., it’s going to vary, depending on what state you’re filing a claim for. For instance, in Florida, the time limit is four years from the date of the accident. If you, however, do not file a lawsuit in this time period, you are most likely going to lose and not get compensation.
Negligence and Duty of Care
A workplace injury or a slip and fall accident are often unintentional or caused by the careless actions of the defendant. In these cases, you, as the plaintiff will have to demonstrate to the jury that the other party was the legal cause of the accident. Tangible evidence and proof of sustained damage are key in proving that the other party failed to meet their duty of care and, as a result, is guilty.
Florida is one of the 13 states that have pure comparative negligence. The easiest way to explain pure comparative negligence is to look at a typical personal injury auto accident. If you were involved in a car accident where the defendant was definitely at fault, but you also contributed to the accident to a certain degree, the court might see you as partially at fault, and as a result, reduce the compensation amount.
Burden of Proof
In civil law, the burden of proof is always on the plaintiff. The party that brings a claim in a dispute is obligated to provide evidence of an injury sustained as a result of failure to meet the duty of care.
If you are successful in proving your case, you will be compensated financially. The compensation should cover your medical bills, costs of rehabilitation, and even lost wages during your time away from work
To define bodily injury in legal terms, we have to look at specific sustained injuries. Bodily injuries are injuries to the body caused by someone else. They are most commonly used in criminal law; however, there are cases tied to an accidental bodily injury. The main difference in bodily injury vs. personal injury is that personal injury is a much broader term and can involve a wide variety of injuries, both physical and emotional.
If you have been injured in some way due to someone’s careless actions and you’re looking to file a suit in Florida, contact The Whisler Law Firm today to get the legal advice from one of South Florida’s best personal injury attorneys.