If you have been involved in a serious accident, you may have suffered many kinds of injuries. Your physical injuries, of course, can be quite painful and may have long-term health effects. But an accident’s mental and emotional effects can be just as severe as your physical injuries and may last a lot longer. There are also the financial losses that come with an accident, which may not be “injuries” but can still have a profound impact on your life.
When you file a personal injury claim in New York, you have the right to seek compensation for physical and other injuries. Understanding the difference between personal injuries and bodily injuries and how they overlap is crucial if you want to recover as much compensation as possible. The New York personal injury attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. have decades of personal injury experience and wanted to share some of what we know about these cases. Keep reading to learn more.
Personal Injuries vs. Bodily Injuries: The Basics
In terms of the law, the difference between a personal injury and a bodily injury is easy to understand. A personal injury is any injury you suffer in an accident: Physical, psychological, emotional, etc. Bodily injuries, by contrast, are physical injuries to your person.
To put these definitions in practical terms, a bodily injury in an accident could be a broken bone or a head injury. In contrast, a personal injury could include those physical injuries, but also the PTSD you acquire after being in a head-on collision with a truck. New York law allows you to pursue compensation for both types of injuries. However, proving you have suffered bodily injuries is easier than proving you have suffered other types of personal injuries. But with the right legal team behind you, you can collect compensation for all the harm you have suffered.
Personal Injuries vs. Bodily Injuries: Insurance Coverage
Knowing the difference between personal injuries and bodily injuries is crucial if you want to make the most of an insurance claim after an accident. For example, in New York, all drivers are required to carry no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. These benefits provide up to $50,000 in compensation if you are hurt in a crash, regardless of fault. Because these are “personal injury” benefits, you can use this coverage to pay for your medical bills and recoup your lost wages and other expenses.
However, New York also requires drivers to carry additional insurance to legally operate a motor vehicle. The minimum amount of liability coverage all drivers are required to have included:
- $10,000 in property damage coverage per individual accident
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for a single person hurt in an accident, or $50,000 if the injured party dies
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for two or more people injured in an accident, or $100,000 in the event of their deaths
Note that these minimum coverage amounts apply to specific types of injuries or losses in an accident. For example, you could not use the $10,000 in property damage to pay for your medical bills, and the bodily injury coverage will not cover any lost wages while you are healing from the crash.
When you’ve been injured in a vehicular accident that was someone else’s fault, you must first turn to your own PIP coverage to pay your medical expenses. After those benefits have been used up, if you can meet New York’s serious injury threshold, you could file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. In that case, you will be required to prove that the other party caused the accident that resulted in your injuries.
If you have any questions about insurance coverage after an accident and how to make the most of your claim, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Can You Recover Compensation for Personal Injuries That Are Not Bodily Injuries?
You are allowed to pursue compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company for personal injuries that are not bodily injuries after an accident. Making your case to an insurance company or in court can be a challenge. While you do not have to prove your personal injury is related to a bodily injury, you will have to show that:
- You were the victim of another party’s negligent conduct
- The negligent party’s actions resulted in the accident
- You were injured in the accident
- Your injuries resulted in losses
Determining the Value of a Personal, Non-Bodily Injury
One common question we receive in personal injury cases is, “How much compensation can I receive for an injury that is not a bodily injury?” The short answer is, “it depends.” It is hard to put a dollar value on the emotional distress you have suffered in an accident. If you are dealing with emotional distress after an accident, starting a diary or journal to keep track of how your injury impacts your daily life can make recovering compensation much easier. You should also speak to an experienced personal injury attorney if you are suffering from a non-bodily injury after an accident.
Common Examples of Bodily Injuries in an Accident
Some of the most common bodily injuries that occur in New York accidents are:
- Broken bones
- Crushed, severed, or amputated limbs
- Cuts and bruises
- External injuries to the head or face
- Injuries to internal organs
- Internal bleeding
- Soft-tissue injuries (sprains, strains, etc.)
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
Common Examples of Other Personal Injuries in an Accident
If you are not sure if you have suffered a personal injury that is not a bodily injury in an accident, some common examples might include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Suicidal thoughts
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney Now
Regardless of what injuries you have suffered in an accident and how severe they are, the team at Finz & Finz, P.C. is here to make life easier for you and help you fight for fair compensation. Contact our office today for a free, no-obligation consultation.