Personal Injury vs Bodily Injury

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

Have you suffered an injury at work, in a motor vehicle accident, at home, or in your community? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans suffer personal injury or bodily injury each year.

In 2018, 4.5 million people received medical treatment for motor vehicle accidents. Another 4.6 million workers required medical care for on-the-job injuries.  A surprising 37.6 million people received injuries in homes or the community that needed medical consultations.

You may wonder if your suffering meets the definition of personal or bodily injury. Keep reading to find out.

Definition of Personal Injury

The legal definition of personal injury isn’t restricted to physical harm. It does include negligence which may include an injury to the body.

Personal injury often involves harm to a person’s property or reputation. Most cases require a legally-liable relationship between the victim and the accused.

Definition of Bodily Injury

Bodily or physical injury describes harm to a person’s body.  According to 18 USC § 831(g)(5), the injury can include:

  • Abrasions, bruises, burns, cuts, or disfigurement
  • Illness
  • Impaired function to a part of the body or organ
  • Impaired mental ability
  • Physical pain

It may also involve other injuries regardless of how long it lasts.

How Are Personal Injury or Bodily Injury Different?

Why is it important to understand the difference between personal and bodily injury? The type of injury impacts the handling of insurance claims and legal actions.

For example, umbrella policies often define and cover bodily injuries in the same way. This includes commercial, commercial auto, and general liability umbrella policies. They cover injuries to clients while on the premises or receiving services.

Some insurance companies include mental anguish coverage as a type of bodily injury. They may not require any physical damage as part of the mental injury.

Insurance companies also define personal injury as anything that harms a person’s reputation. Legal definitions of personal injury may include physical and/or other types of harm.

Understanding Personal and Bodily Injury Claims

The legal term “tort” describes an act or omission that results in harm to another person. An “injury”, defined in the context of torts, means any invasion of legal rights that causes harm. “Harm” describes a loss or “detriment in fact” suffered by a person.

Every tort claim involves two issues: liability and damages. It doesn’t matter if the damage was negligent, intentional, or only liability.

The court must determine if the defendant is liable for the damages to the alleged victim. If this is true, the next ruling addresses the type and extent of the damage.

If you have experienced a personal or bodily injury, ask an attorney for advice. At Veron Bice Palermo & Wilson, we’ll guide you through the post-injury process. Our experts make sure you get all the financial compensation you’re entitled to.

Attorneys also assist with managing medical bills and lost wages from the injury. They will work with the insurance company as well. This means that you can spend your time recovering.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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