What’s the Difference Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury in New York?

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Some words can be used interchangeably and mean the same thing, such as hot dog and frankfurter. The language used in law, however, is very precise. Two terms that sometimes confuse the public are bodily injury and personal injury. Under New York law, they are related but different.

Bodily Injury

Bodily injury under New York law refers specifically to physical injuries or emotional distress resulting from a motor vehicle accident. If you are injured in a crash, and the other driver is at fault, damages may be paid through his or her bodily injury liability insurance with one important condition. Your claim meets the legal threshold for “serious injury” under the state’s no-fault law. Damages can be awarded for:

  • Death or miscarriage
  • Significant disability lasting at least 90 days
  • Significant or permanent limited use of a body organ, function, or system
  • Fracture, dismemberment, or serious disfigurement

It might be difficult to receive the amount you deserve from the defendant’s insurance carrier. The offer might not cover your costs or adequately compensate you for your pain and suffering. Or, the insurance company might drag out the claim settlement unnecessarily. That’s when an attorney experienced in bodily injury cases can advocate for the best outcome possible for you.

Personal Injury

While auto bodily injury falls under the wider legal definition of personal injury, this shouldn’t be confused with the Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, in your auto policy. PIP pays your medical expenses if your injuries don’t meet the no-fault threshold.

The broad legal definition of personal injury can cover harm—including wrongful death—from many different causes, not only auto accidents. A partial list includes:

  • A slip-and-fall
  • An industrial accident
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective products
  • Dog bites

In any of these cases, the responsible party may be held liable for your physical injuries, emotional distress, and even damage to your reputation. As with an auto bodily injury claim, pursuing any personal injury claim can bring the other party’s insurer into the case with all of its legal resources. The right legal team on your side can be critical to helping negotiate the compensation you deserve or representing you at trial if an out-of-court settlement isn’t possible.

The Right Lawyer Can Make a Difference

The injuries sustained from a car accident, or any harm caused by the negligence of others, can have lifelong and far-reaching consequences. The skilled Yonkers personal injury attorneys at Sayegh & Sayegh PC will fight for the fair compensation you deserve. To learn more, call (914) 222-8161 or contact us online.