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What Is the Difference Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury?

The primary difference between bodily injury and personal injury, when speaking in general, 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.

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. 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.

New York Requires Drivers To Obtain Certain Auto Insurance Coverage

Like many other states, New York law requires drivers to have at least a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. 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 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
  • 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

Third-Party Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

In an insured person’s relationship with his or her 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 often 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. . 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 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

There are also policy provisions that cover additional damages in an accident, including insurance coverage to repair your vehicle and third-party liability policies for property damage.

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. There are deadlines on how long accident victims have to file legal action, per New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214.

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. In addition, we will::

  • 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

Once you retain Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. to fight for your rights, you pay nothing up front and no attorney’s fees unless we secure a payout

Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. now at (516) 932-0400 to discuss your case during a complimentary consultation.

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