Bodily injury and personal injury both refer to types of insurance policies that may cover damages following a traffic accident. In addition, these phrases may also be used to differentiate between a case based on an insurance claim and a case based on a lawsuit.
After you’ve been hurt by someone else, we can tell you more about how the relevant insurance coverages may offer you compensation for your costs and losses. We can also help you move forward with either an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Differentiating Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury
As a driver in Georgia, you likely have:
- Bodily injury liability insurance. This is a mandatory insurance that is designed to pay expenses for accident victims.
In other states, drivers are sometimes required to carry:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This policy covers some of the expenses of the policyholder after an accident, regardless of fault.
You may also hear “personal injury” used to describe the type of lawsuit sometimes necessary to pursue and secure compensation following a car accident. The insurance claim covers “bodily injuries,” and the lawsuit is a “personal injury” case.
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Georgia Requires All Drivers to Carry Bodily Injury Policies
In Georgia, most car accident cases settle out of court. This means you file a claim based on the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability insurance policy. This policy is designed to pay for some or all of the medical treatment and care of the victims of an accident caused by the policyholder. So, the at-fault driver’s policy should cover your hospital bills, lost income, and other expenses.
According to the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, Georgia law requires all drivers to carry at least:
- $25,000 per victim and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance
- $25,000 per accident of property damage liability insurance
Only if you are not able to reach a fair settlement based on the at-fault driver’s mandatory insurance coverage will you need to file a personal injury case against that driver. Once the case goes to court, you are no longer pursuing bodily injury damages, but you are seeking a personal injury court award.
Neighboring States May Have Different Requirements
The difference between bodily injury and personal injury insurance coverage may also be important if you are traveling to another state, such as Florida, and are in an accident. Unlike Georgia, Florida has no-fault car accident laws. These laws require motorists to carry no-fault insurance policies, otherwise known as personal injury protection policies.
These policies are the first line of financial recovery for Florida drivers following an accident. They can file for compensation to cover their medical care and a portion of their missed income following an accident, regardless of fault. To file a bodily injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer, they must meet very specific criteria to show they qualify to do so.
Because you will not have this type of coverage if you are involved in a car accident in Florida, you can step outside the no-fault rules and file a fault-based claim based on the driver’s bodily injury liability policy just like you would in Georgia.
Understanding Personal Injury Law in Georgia
Bodily injury always refers to the injuries sustained by an accident victim in a traffic accident. On the other hand, personal injury refers to an area of law that allows injury victims to seek compensation for many different types of negligent accidents. In almost any situation where another person’s negligence caused someone to suffer an injury, a personal injury lawsuit may be possible.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle
We see personal injury cases in the Atlanta area that include:
- Slips and falls, trips and falls, and other types of fall injuries
- Drownings and pool injuries
- Dog bites and other animal attacks
- Medical malpractice and birth injuries
- Products liability and defective products
- Workplace accident injuries
- Bicycle and pedestrian accident cases
- All types of motor vehicle accident injuries
Depending on the facts of the case, any of these could support a valid personal injury lawsuit and allow us to recover compensation on behalf of our clients. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 9-3-33 does place a strict time limit on filing personal injury cases, however. We generally only have two years from the date injuries occurred to file suit in court.
Determining Whether You Have a Personal Injury Case
Essentially, you may have a case for compensation if you can show that someone else is responsible for your accident and injuries.
If we can prove that the following four elements were true in your case, we may be able to help you pursue a personal injury lawsuit:
- Duty of care: This means that the defendant in your case should have shown you a certain measure of care in the original situation. Whether this was a driver who owed you care in their use of the road or a property owner who owed you a safe shopping environment, we will work to prove that the defendant owed you this duty.
- Breach of duty of care: Next, we will have to prove that the defendant did something reckless or careless, neglecting their duty of care in the situation. So, this could mean a grocery store repeatedly allowed water to sit on the floor due to a leaking cooler that was never fixed.
- Causation: Here, we will need to show that the defendant’s negligence was the direct cause of your accident and injuries. For instance, we may need to counter any claims that your own shoes contributed to your fall on the slippery floor, in this situation.
- Damages: We will demonstrate that you sustained injuries and other losses, such as medical costs and time missed from work.
Of course, you don’t have to understand all the ins and outs of personal injury law in order to move forward with a case. We can determine if you have a case and then handle all of these legal details for you.
An Attorney from Our Team Can Help You Understand the Steps You Should Take
If you suffered injuries in a Georgia car accident, you can work with a lawyer from our team who can help you understand the steps to take and how to pursue compensation based on the facts of your case. In many cases, the driver’s bodily injury liability policy will cover some or all of your damages, but it is important that you understand the value of your case before signing a settlement agreement with their insurance carrier.
Insurance companies will use it to their advantage that you are not aware of the value of your losses and undercut your settlement. We can help you hold the liable party responsible and put a fair price on your case. If the bodily injury policy will not cover a fair price, you may be able to secure a just payout through a personal injury lawsuit.
Recoverable damages may include:
- Current and future medical treatment needs
- Ongoing care and support
- Lost income and reduced ability to earn
- Property damages, including to your vehicle
- Miscellaneous related expenses we can document
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other intangible and non-economic losses
- Wrongful death damages for qualifying immediate family members under O.C.G.A § 51-4-2
Speak to a Member of the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Team Today
At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we offer free case reviews for victims of traffic accidents in Atlanta, Savannah, and other areas of Georgia. Let us evaluate your case and explain whether you may be able to hold another driver accountable for your injuries.
Call (404) 888-8888 today to get started with a complimentary case consultation.