The Difference Between Personal and Bodily Injury

Even though most people use the terms personal injury and bodily injury interchangeably, they have completely different meanings. Naturally, we refer to their legal definitions and implications.

For example, a personal injury accident claim will never mention bodily injuries. But let’s not give you any hints and move straight to the real deal – let’s take a look at the differences between personal and bodily injuries.

Personal Injury

As an element of civil law, personal injuries and their claims compensate victims of social wrongs or accidents. In a lawsuit, the plaintiff is the person who was injured.

Basically, a personal injury refers to the injury you have sustained following a certain incident. If taken to trial, the opposing party – the defendant – is the person who has caused your injury due to negligence.

Personal Injury Legal Aspects


  • Statutory Limitations – depending on the state, you usually have two years to file a personal injury claim.



  • Liability – once again, depending on the state, the plaintiff may be denied compensation or part of the compensation if it is proven that they are partially or wholly to blame for the accident and any injuries resulted from it.


Bodily Injury

This type of injury refers to a particular injury on the body of a person that has been caused by someone else. The term is used to refer to specific injuries sustained.

This term is commonly used for injuries that are part of criminal cases. However, there are a couple of instances when bodily injury implies insurance as well.

For example, if you were to injure someone or damage their property, you would have to, depending on the state, rely on your bodily injury coverage to deal with the compensation.

Bodily Injury Legal Aspects

As mentioned above, the injured party will be able to claim medical coverage from the driver responsible for the accident via their bodily injury insurance.

Basically, bodily injury makes the term bodily injury liability insurance – as one of the most common ones. When the insured can be blamed for an accident, this insurance will be used to compensate everyone else involved in the accident.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, when it comes to legal aspects and terms, personal and bodily injury are two very different things.

One of them means that you are or may be entitled to a very large sum of money if you win a case or manage to reach a favorable settlement outside court.

On the other hand, bodily injury usually refers to a type of insurance meant to cover the medical costs and compensation of the people who you’ve injured in an accident.

Via one you receive money – and via the other, you have to give money!

However, it is important to remember that the differences between these two terms apply only to certain states and are not available across the country. You may come across states or countries that don’t even have bodily injuries or bodily injury insurance.

This is why, before traveling/driving, it is good to know the laws of the road and the rules of any type of insurance!

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