What Is the Difference Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury?

injuries | November 11, 2022

When you hear the phrases “bodily injury” and “personal injury,” it may seem like they mean the same thing at first glance. When speaking normally and outside of legal issues, there may not be a problem with confusing the two. However, these two phrases actually do have different meanings depending on the context in which they are used. Here, we want to examine the difference between bodily injury and personal injury as well as looking at where there are similarities between the two.

What Is the Difference Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury?

Criminal Court Versus Civil Court – Why Does This Matter?

One area where the use of the terms “bodily injury” and “personal injury” matters revolves around the type of court system the case is in. Namely, we want to look at the criminal court system and the civil court system because there is a difference between these two courts when it comes to identifying injuries.

When you hear of an injury case handled by the criminal court, usually after an assault or some other type of crime, you will typically hear about individuals facing charges brought by prosecutors. In California, most of the laws surrounding these incidents will mention misdemeanor or felony charges that individuals can face if they cause “bodily injuries” to others.

However, when we look at the civil court system in California, we will see that the term “personal injury” is more likely to arise. This usually happens in the form of personal injury lawsuits filed by an injury victim against an alleged negligent party. The actions of the alleged negligent party in a civil case do not necessarily have to be criminal in nature for them to face a civil personal injury lawsuit. Individuals can lose a personal injury lawsuit even if they have not committed a crime when causing an injury to another.

Bodily Injuries and Vehicle Insurance Policies

Another area where you will see an overlap concerning bodily injury and personal injuries occurs when browsing or purchasing automobile insurance in California. In this state, every driver is required to carry $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident worth of bodily injury liability coverage.

Even though you can see that the law requires bodily injury coverage, this type of insurance is designed to pay for injuries the policyholder may cause to another party in a roadway accident.

Recovering Compensation After an Injury Occurs

Individuals are typically able to recover compensation after sustaining a personal injury. A personal injury could very well be defined as a bodily injury if the incident occurred as a result of a crime committed by another party. However, personal injuries can arise in various ways other than assaults, including dog bite incidents, slip and fall incidents, defective products, vehicle accidents, and more.

The types of compensation recoverable will vary but typically include coverage of medical bills associated with the injury, lost wage recovery, property damage expenses, pain and suffering losses, and various out-of-pocket expenses experienced by the injury victim.

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury caused by another party in California, we encourage you to reach out to a personal injury attorney who can help determine the best steps moving forward for your situation. The goal is to recover the compensation needed to make you “whole.”