Bodily injury and personal injury are often used interchangeably, and it’s easy to see why. If something happens to your body, isn’t that personal? If you suffer a personal injury, aren’t the chances very high that the harm will involve at least some part of your body?
While the two terms can be confusing, bodily injury and personal injury have entirely different meanings.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury, it pays to know the difference between bodily and personal injury for legal and insurance reasons.
What is Bodily Injury?
Bodily injury deals with a particular injury to the body of an individual that was caused by another person.
Bodily Injury and the Law
You will almost always hear bodily injury referred to when discussing motor vehicle insurance coverage for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Bodily injury liability policies are designed to compensate an injured driver, passengers, or pedestrians if they sustained injuries that resulted from the insured individual’s negligent conduct.
Compensation for Bodily Injuries
When you suffer a bodily injury, you may be entitled under the law to receive compensation for lost wages, lost earning capacity, out-of-pocket expenditures for medical treatment, and medical expenses, such as x-rays, physical therapy, and transport to the hospital.
It is also possible to receive compensation for future expenses and losses, which can arise when a person has injuries so severe that the injuries are likely to impact his or her life negatively for months or years in the future. Future losses include future loss of income, disfigurement, future therapy, impairment, and future pain and suffering.
What is a Personal Injury?
Personal injury is a term used in civil law. A personal injury claim is meant to compensate victims of accidents and intentional acts (e.g. sexual assault). The plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is the individual who was injured.
If an accident resulted in the death of a victim, the plaintiff(s) in the case are the family survivors, such as the spouse and children. The defendant is the person whose negligence caused the injury or loss to the victim. There can also be a cross-defendant in the case, which is when the defendant asserts blame to another party.
What Injuries are Considered Personal Injuries?
Personal injury refers to an injury of the body, mind, or emotions.
Here are the most common types of personal injury claims.