Is bodily injury the same as personal injury? The primary difference between the two is that personal injury usually refers to any type of injury that occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence. This injury could include a fall, a boating accident, a defective product injury, a pedestrian accident, or any number of other situations.
In most cases, bodily injury is a phrase used only when discussing car accidents under New York State law. If you have questions about personal injury and bodily injury, they likely stem from concerns about your auto insurance coverage following a traffic accident on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area.
When it comes to auto insurance coverage, two options for paying for your medical care, lost wages, and other losses after an accident include your personal injury protection policy and the at-fault driver’s bodily injury coverage.
In This Article
- Understanding the Types of Auto Insurance Coverage Available
- New York Requires Drivers to Obtain Certain Auto Insurance Coverage
- Insurance Claims and Personal Injury Lawsuits Following New York Car Accidents
- Get Help With Your Long Island or NYC Car Accident Case
- Get a Free Case Consultation With One of Our Attorneys Today
Understanding the Types of Auto Insurance Coverage Available
Per the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, the state requires all drivers to take out a personal injury protection (PIP) policy, also known as no-fault insurance, as well as a liability policy that provides bodily injury coverage. If you are reading this and you are thinking, “I never purchased PIP coverage,” don’t worry. It is included in every auto insurance policy issued in New York. Primarily, the difference between bodily injury and personal injury protection insurance is who it covers.
If you sustain minor to moderate injuries in a New York car accident, you will turn to your PIP policy to compensate you for your medical care, a portion of your lost wages, and other losses. If you suffer more serious injuries or exceed the coverage of your PIP policy, you will be eligible to file a fault-based claim in some cases.
These fault-based claims generally target the at-fault driver’s liability policy, specifically their bodily injury coverage. In the same way, if you are liable in an accident, your bodily liability coverage provides a payout source for those injured in the accident. Victims eligible to file an at-fault claim are also generally able to file a lawsuit in civil court to seek compensation, if necessary.
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New York Requires Drivers to Obtain Certain Auto Insurance Coverage
Like many other states, New York law requires drivers to have a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. Unlike some other states, though, this includes no-fault insurance coverage, which is the first place injured parties turn following a crash.
The New York State Department of Financial Services explains the state’s requirements further:
Personal Injury Protection (No-Fault) Coverage
PIP coverage does not require you to prove fault (which is why it is called “No-Fault” insurance,) and will pay even if you caused the accident. New York requires you to carry at least $50,000 in PIP coverage, meaning it will pay out up to $50,000 per person in an accident. Coverage includes:
- Medical care expenses
- A portion of your lost earnings from missed work up to a stated maximum
- Other “reasonable and necessary” related expenses
Those covered by this policy include:
- The driver in the car
- Any passengers in the car
- Any pedestrians or bicyclists hit by the car
It is worth noting the things that are not covered by this policy, including your car repairs—covered by another policy—or your pain and suffering damages that are only recoverable through a fault-based claim or lawsuit. Your PIP policy is meant to be a basic policy that covers the cost of treating and dealing with relatively minor injuries.
Third-Party Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
In an insured person’s relationship with their insurance carrier, the policyholder is thought of as the “first party,” the insurance carrier is considered the “second party,” and any party making a claim against the bodily injury liability coverage is deemed a “third-party.” Their claims are sometimes termed “third-party bodily injury” claims.
Third-party bodily injury coverage pays for medical care and related expenses for victims of an accident caused by the policyholder or by someone driving the covered vehicle with the policyholder’s consent. A victim who files a third-party claim may also be able to recover other losses, such as:
- Future necessary treatment and care
- Current and future wage losses
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress
The minimum requirements for a New York third-party bodily injury liability policy include:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to one person in an accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury to multiple people in one accident
- $50,000 for the wrongful death of one person in an accident
- $100,000 for the wrongful death of more than one person in an accident
Drivers can opt to pay a higher premium and receive additional coverage. This can greatly reduce the possibility they may have to pay for damages for bodily injury claims out of their pockets following a crash. There are also policy provisions available that will cover additional damages in an accident, including:
- Property damage insurance coverage to repair your vehicle
- Third-party liability policies for property damage
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
Insurance Claims and Personal Injury Lawsuits Following New York Car Accidents
In most cases, New York car accident cases resolve out of court, with the parties either receiving a payout based on their PIP policies or reaching a settlement based on a third-party claim. In some cases, though, one party will meet the criteria to pursue a fault-based claim, but the at-fault party’s insurer refuses a fair settlement.
When this happens, a personal injury lawsuit is often the next step. A car accident lawsuit is a legal action against the at-fault driver or another liable party in civil court. It asks a jury to hear evidence from both sides and make a decision about what happened, who is liable, and how much money the victim deserves.
There are also deadlines on how long accident victims have to file this legal action. The rules that most commonly govern New York car accidents are found in New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214. However, depending upon the unique circumstances of your case some other, potentially shorter, the statute of limitations may apply. In addition to the applicable statute of limitations, other critical deadlines apply to claims and lawsuits as well.
In addition to statutes of limitations and other deadlines, other timeliness considerations apply to personal injury and bodily injury cases as well. Important items ranging from dashcam and surveillance video to witness statements are best obtained as soon as possible as they may become unavailable for a variety of possible reasons if there is too much delay in trying to secure them.
The best course of action is to act quickly to give our team the time we need to protect your rights and build the strongest case possible for you. If you are from Suffolk County, a personal injury lawyer in Babylon can help you file within the statute of limitations.
Get Help With Your Long Island or NYC Car Accident Case
If you have questions about how to pursue compensation or your legal options following a car accident on Long Island or in the New York City metropolitan area, our passionate advocates are here to help. We will speak with you about your case for free. When you choose us as your injury lawyers, we evaluate the strength of your case, determine how we think you should approach compensation, and represent you throughout the process.
When we handle these cases, we strive to offer the best client service available. We want our clients to understand what is happening, what to expect next, and how to make decisions to accept or reject a settlement offer. We provide a number of services that ensure our clients have the most stress-free experience possible.
We handle their legal claims and seek compensation while they focus on their physical recovery and getting their life back to normal. Our promise to our clients ensures we:
- Update you about your case regularly
- Help identify the at-fault party and applicable insurance policies
- Manage all communication about your case for you
- Gather evidence to prove negligence, liability, and losses
- Determine fair value for your case before we consider settlement offers
- Prepare and file your claim
- Negotiate with the insurance company representatives for a fair payout
- Sue the at-fault driver when indicated to recover the money damages you deserve
Once you retain Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. to fight for your rights, you pay nothing upfront and no attorney’s fees unless we secure a payout.
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Get a Free Case Consultation With One of Our Attorneys Today
Our attorneys provide free case reviews for victims of traffic accidents in New York City and on Long Island. We even have multilingual staff to talk to you about your crash in a language you are most comfortable speaking. You can learn more about your collision and legal options for financial recovery today for free.
Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. now at (516) 271-1762 to discuss your case during a complimentary consultation.