Personal Injury

Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury: What’s the Difference?

It’s no secret that legal terminology can be confusing at times. However, when it comes to the law, using the right words and phrases is vital. What the average person sees as synonymous terms may be two terms that actually have different meanings. For those who delve into the legal world, it’s important to know the difference. The terms bodily injury and personal injury sound very similar, but what meanings do they hold?

Do Bodily Injury and Personal Injury Mean the Same Thing?

Although many people use the terms “bodily injury” and “personal injury” interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. In some circumstances, the terms can be used together. However, each term has a distinct meaning that is dependent on the context of the situation. 

Because the definition of each term can change depending on how and why it is used, it’s difficult to simply state the difference between them. Generally, though, “bodily injury” refers to a physical injury of the body, while “personal injury” is a type of legal claim that may include but is not limited to bodily injury.

What Does Bodily Injury Mean?

As stated above, “bodily injury” can have a few different meanings, depending on the context in which it’s being used. However, according to The Law Dictionary, “bodily injury” may be defined as: “Any physical or corporeal injury; not necessarily restricted to injury to the trunk or main part of the body as distinguished from the head or limbs.” 

Put more simply, a bodily injury is any injury to a person’s physical body. This can include a number of types of injuries, such as cuts, bruises, broken bones, burns, etc. Bodily injuries can range from relatively minor injuries like scrapes and bruises to serious, potentially fatal injuries, such as organ damage. 

What Contexts is Bodily Injury Used In?

The term “bodily injury” is primarily used in two legal contexts: personal injury law and criminal law.

Personal Injury Law

In personal injury law, “bodily injury” refers to the physical, bodily injuries the client suffered in their incident. Common scenarios for bodily injuries include car crashes, slips and falls, fires, and workplace accidents. Bodily injuries can make up all or part of a personal injury claim, along with other non-physical damages such as pain and suffering and lost wages.

Personal injury law often deals with the insurance industry, which also has its own use of the term bodily injury. In an insurance context, bodily injury may refer to a type of liability insurance coverage. Bodily injury coverage compensates for the physical injuries sustained in an incident that the policy holder is liable for. For example, if a person with bodily injury insurance coverage causes a car accident that injures the other driver, the bodily insurance coverage would compensate for the cost of the other driver’s bodily injuries. 

Criminal Law

In criminal law, the term bodily injury refers to the physical, bodily injuries a victim suffered from a crime. Examples of cases in which bodily injury may be used include: assault and battery, theft, and murder.

What Does Personal Injury Mean?

A “personal injury” can be defined a couple of different ways. The Law Dictionary states that a personal injury is “a non physical injury that occurs due to wrongful eviction, slander, false arrest or by violating the right to privacy of any person.” In this definition, the emphasis is on an injury that is not a physical, bodily injury but still causes damage to a person. 

The Legal Information Institute’s definition of personal injury is more broad, with the inclusion of bodily injuries: “Personal injuries include every variety of injury to a person’s body, emotions, or reputation, as contradistinguished from injury to property rights.” This definition is more in line with personal injury law, as personal injury claims often seek compensation for bodily injuries as well as other non-physical injuries. 

Personal Injury Law

Further, the term personal injury may also refer to a course of legal action. Personal injury claims are civil suits that a person may file after suffering an injury due to another party’s negligence. Damages recovered in a personal injury lawsuit may include compensation for bodily injuries as well as non-physical injuries, such as pain and suffering, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and loss of quality of life. 

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

Whether you’ve suffered a bodily injury or personal injury, our caring, compassionate personal injury lawyers are here to help. We have over 40 years of experience assisting those injured by someone else’s negligence get the compensation they deserve. Consultations are free, and we’re available 24/7. We care. We can help. 

The Carlson Law Firm

The Carlson Law Firm has been representing and protecting clients in Texas and across the nation since 1976. During this time, we have built a reputation for success and have received numerous awards. Our firm is committed to delivering exceptional service and representation but more importantly, we provide you with an experienced team that has your back, one-hundred percent.

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