Personal Injury vs. Bodily Injury

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You might be interested to know about personal injury vs. bodily injury, read this article. Violence is never a solution. They have taught us throughout our lives. However, this is what we turn to when reason fails. The use of force is configured as one of the most primitive instincts of the human being.

Therefore, the Criminal Code primarily protects the physical and mental integrity of people from attacks by a third party. These attacks can be of any type, provided that the health of an individual is impaired. But when it comes to Personal injury vs. bodily injury, people get confused.

Both legal terms tend to be confused or used as synonyms by people when they get hurt and ignore their legal meaning. In this article, we try to explain what each one means, according to the legal terminology and regulations that exist for these two types of injuries.

We also offer information about the limits or deadlines established by law to file a claim for personal injury or bodily injury. We will also discuss the compensation obtained in each case, depending on the severity of the injuries and the type of accident.

Personal injury vs. bodily injury: A brief discussion

What is a personal injury?

Personal injury is a notion used in civil law to refer to a type of damage caused by a car accident, a work accident, or the use of a defective product. Personal injuries are grievances that can occur in a person’s body, mind, or emotions, other than property damage.

Claims filed for personal injury seek compensation for the victims of these accidents to repair such damages, according to the state-approved recovery system. In individual injury cases, people can defend themselves or through a personal injury lawyer who represents them.

When the victim dies in the accident, the plaintiff will be a direct relative or another person who legally represents the victim. Meanwhile, the defendant is the person who caused the accident for his negligent conduct and must be held liable for physical damage or loss.

If the defendant is also responsible for the other party (initial plaintiff) for the accident, a new responsible figure emerges in the disaster known as the cross-defendant.

The most common causes of personal injury are:

  • Car accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Medical negligence
  • Defective products
  • Death due to negligence

Legal aspects of personal injuries

It is advisable to be aware of all the legal issues that govern personal injury accidents. One of the most important things to know is that there are statutory limitations for claims for personal injury.

Two other elements to consider are how liability is established in accidents with personal injuries and the burden of proof.

Statutory limitations: Personal injury claims must be filed in court within two years of the date of the car accident or work accident. This period in which the law establishes the filing of legal action is called a statute of limitations and varies by countries or states.

Responsibility: This element is also essential to take into account when taking legal action or filing a personal injury claim. In a personal injury lawsuit, usually, the jury can use the pure comparative negligence rule to determine the percentage of fault of everyone involved in the accident.

According to this rule, the compensation received by the plaintiff will be according to the percentage of fault he has in the accident (if that were the case). The principle of joint and several liabilities can also be invoked to recover physical damage and property damage.

The burden of proof: In cases of personal injury, the burden of proof is less demanding than in criminal cases. Because in them, the trial is focused on getting the victim to obtain compensation for their injuries or verifiable losses. While in matters of personal injury to receive compensation, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted negligently.

Negligence in personal injury lawsuits

Personal injuries can be caused in various types of accidents: accidents at work, car accidents, use of defective products, the liability of premises, or also for medical or professional negligence, among others. Generally, in these cases, there is no intentionality in causing accidents, but they are caused by the negligent or reckless conduct of the accused.

However, it is clear that even when the defendant does not want to cause the accident, his negligence causes it. For example, in the case of car accidents. Therefore, all drivers must avoid an accident due to their fault when sending messages or talking on the phone, neglecting while driving, or doing so under the influence of alcohol.

In the same way, a company must keep its floors clean and dry to prevent a user from suffering a slip and fall accident or a manufacturer to defective market products.

Who is negligent in a personal injury case?

Man who fell and hurt his back/man holding his lower back in pain Personal injury cases are regulated by civil law, which means that they generally do not involve criminal charges. In cases of personal injury, there may be more than one negligent party, and, usually, it depends on the type of injuries suffered and how they were caused. This type of legal claim may be filed against the insurance company of the negligent party or in a civil court.

Compensation in cases of personal injury

Personal injury damages are classified as economic and non-economic damages. Financial losses include medical expenses in general, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses made by the victim, and expenses in rehabilitation therapies. While non-economic injuries are more subjective and, therefore, more difficult to quantify.

Pain and suffering, for example, are non-economic damage that must be quantified in monetary terms. Some states set limits for the calculation of this type of loss, particularly in claims or claims for medical malpractice.

What is Bodily Injury?

According to the Law, serious bodily injury is a severe physical injury caused to another person. However, due to the breadth of the term, it is the jury in a trial that determines when it is a Great Bodily Injury (GBI).

The bodily damages that a person causes to another are not considered crimes in themselves but by the qualification or improvement of the sentence that of a court in a trial. For a significant injury to be sustained against a defendant, it is required that the type of bodily injury caused to be of a higher than average severity in that same type of events.

There is also no formula for a jury to determine a GBI in a case, but if some aspects of the injury are considered to do so. These elements of judgment are:

  • Pain caused to the victim
  • Severity of injuries
  • Type of medical attention required by the victim.

Bodily Injury Coverage

The bodily injury differs from personal injury because it refers to a very particular type of damage that a person causes to another in his body. This term is used more frequently in criminal law, but it is also sometimes used in claims submitted to insurance companies.

Examples of major bodily injury

In each case, it is determined whether in an accident, there was great bodily harm or not. However, there are some examples of bodily harm or injury in which the courts have so established:

  • Bone fractures (jaw, hands, legs, skull, nose)
  • Swelling and bruising of the eyes
  • Bruises and visible swelling of the victim when hit
  • Severe neck pain, scraped and cut knees, abrasions.
  • Dog bite (when the owner orders his dog to bite a second time).

Legal aspects of bodily injury

Bodily injuries are described in claims filed with insurance companies and in car accident claims that go to trial. The civil liability insurance of the defendant for bodily injury must compensate the victims (other drivers, pedestrians) for the particular physical damages caused by the insured driver. For example, a broken arm, a muscle tear, a severe bruise.

Compensation for bodily injury

Victims of bodily injury have the right to get compensation for various aspects, such as-

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages and lost income
  • Own expenses after the accident
  • Examinations for medical treatment
  • Rehabilitation and pain therapies
  • Transportation expenses for consultations.

Compensation for pain and suffering is not frequent in bodily injury, as lawyers in a personal injury claim more use this type of compensation. For bodily injury, claims for future expenses and losses can also be filed.

These damages are invoked when the victim receives serious injuries that cause some temporary or permanent disability. The compensation that the victim could receive may also be for future loss of income or subsequent therapies or disfigurement.


In summary, personal injuries are all those that a person can suffer in an accident (car, construction, slips and falls, defective products) or that are presented in death claims due to negligence.

On the other hand, bodily injuries are more limited in their characterization, because they are the visible physical injuries suffered by the victim of the accident. In one or another type, compensation payment is demanded through the defendant’s insurance policy once the accident responsibility determination has been made. After reading this article you might understand properly the difference about personal injury vs. bodily injury.



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