Personal Injury Vs. Bodily Injury: Differences Explained

what is personal injuryIf you’ve been hurt in some type of accident, you may have conducted a Google search to ask, “what is personal injury?” or “should I file a personal injury suit?” You might assume that this is the appropriate course of action to take — and in many cases, it is. But not every incident can be handled by filing this type of claim. You may also wonder whether the term “bodily injury” is synonymous with “personal injury.” We’re clearing up the differences between these two concepts in today’s post.

What Is Personal Injury?

Before we go any further, we need to answer the question, “what is personal injury?” This type of civil claim is filed against the person(s) responsible for inflicting harm as a result of negligence. In other words, if you are injured due to another party’s failure to meet a standard of care or their careless actions caused you harm, you may be able to file this type of claim.

Examples and Elements of Personal Injury Claims: When you answer the “what is personal injury?” question, it’s important to keep in mind that there are several types of incidents that could fall under this legal category. For example, you could file a personal injury claim if you are injured in a car accident that involved an intoxicated motorist or if you slip and fall while visiting a business or a friend’s home. You could also file a personal injury claim against a nursing home if they have abused or neglected your loved one or if you are harmed due to a defective product. Personal injury claims involving wrongful death — like some of the 32,166 fatal U.S. car crashes in 2015 might have — may also be brought against the responsible party. Medical malpractice is another type of common personal injury suit; if you receive a misdiagnosis or are prescribed a medication that brings harm — and these incidents can be definitively linked back to that medical professional’s inability to meet the standard of care — you may be able to bring a personal injury suit. If you and your attorney can prove that the party responsible breached their duty of care and that breach resulted in your injury, it may be possible to file a claim.

What is Bodily Injury?

Unlike personal injury, bodily injury does not actually refer to a type of legal claim. Instead, it’s used to discuss specific physical damages an individual has sustained. The term “bodily injury” can be used to describe a couple of different situations. It can be used in criminal cases (like aggravated assault, for instance) when referring to the harm sustained by an individual. But “bodily injury” can also be an aspect of insurance policies and claims. It may be included in your policy information to indicate when you are or aren’t covered. Your insurance company may pay a specific amount for bodily injury (and the amount they pay may depend on the medical treatment you receive and the severity of the injury).

Examples and Elements of Bodily Injury: If you run a business, your insurance policy likely has bodily injury coverage, should a customer be injured on your property. This coverage could prevent a customer from bringing a lawsuit against you, but there’s no guarantee this will occur. Another time you might need to take advantage of bodily injury coverage is if you are injured in a car accident. In lieu of taking another motorist to court, you may be able to claim medical coverage using the insurance of the driver at fault for the accident. You may also be able to take advantage of bodily injury coverage if you sustain an injury that keeps you from being able to work; you may be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by work absences, hospital transportation costs, medication, physical therapy, and other medical expenses.

The differences between personal injury and bodily injury basically come down to this: one is a type of claim that can be filed, while the other describes a type of damage sustained by an individual.

Need help from a Portland personal injury attorney? Please contact us today for further information.