What Is the Difference Between Personal and Bodily Injury?

Published on May 14, 2024 at 6:52 pm in Personal Injury.

If you’re involved in a vehicle collision on Baltimore streets, you’re likely to hear terms like “personal injury” or “bodily injury” being used frequently afterward. And when you look at the damage done to your vehicle, and you feel yourself hurting or see injuries to others, you could probably take a good guess at what those terms might mean.

But, in the aftermath of an accident, how do you know what is the difference between personal and bodily injury? And why do these differences matter?

We’ll explain more in this blog post.

What Personal Injuries Are

People often use “bodily” and “personal” interchangeably when discussing injuries and damages sustained in accidents, and while they are similar, there are important differences. Personal injury is a legal claim of harm to a person due to someone else’s negligence or actions and can include a range of injuries and damages beyond physical harm.

Personal injuries can include bodily injuries but can also include mental or emotional harm that an accident victim suffers, such as:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Other psychological or emotional trauma

Legalities of Surrounding Injury Cases

When a personal injury occurs, and you decide to pursue a legal claim against the person who caused you harm, it’s important that you and your lawyer prove the individual acted in a negligent manner. In a car accident case, for example, you must prove that the at-fault driver owed you a duty of care (safe driving), failed to uphold that duty (driving recklessly), that those actions directly caused you harm (damage to yourself and your vehicle), and that you suffered as a result (medical bills, car repairs, PTSD, etc.).

What Bodily Injury Means

The definition of a “bodily injury” is a specific injury to a person’s body, usually a certain part of the body that has been harmed in an accident, such as a broken arm or broken leg. A bodily injury can be part of or the reason for pursuing a personal injury claim, and although the two are connected, it’s important to differentiate between them. Common types of bodily injuries include:

  • Lacerations
  • Bruises
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Crush injuries
  • Internal injuries

Car accident victims who have suffered any bodily injury can file a claim against the at-fault individual for the following:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital, ambulance, surgery, doctors, rehabilitation or physical therapy
  • Future medical expenses if the victim will require ongoing medical care
  • Lost earnings while they recover from the accident
  • Future lost earnings if their injury leaves them with a disability or loss of movement

A settlement for bodily injury will not include compensation for damages such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, or any of the mental or emotional harm listed in the personal injury section above.

What Can Cause Personal or Bodily Injury?

Many situations or accidents can lead someone to suffer bodily injury or personal injury and then pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the person(s) who caused them harm. Those situations include but are not limited to:

All of the accidents or situations listed here can lead to personal and bodily injuries, and they occur every day, often to people we know. In most cases, these incidents are entirely preventable and are caused by someone’s negligent or careless actions.

Legal Options If You Have Suffered Personal or Bodily Injury

If you decide to pursue a personal or bodily injury lawsuit against the individual(s) who caused you harm, it’s important to understand the nuances and complexities of these cases and the differences between personal and bodily injury that we’ve laid out in this post.

Such as that, an individual could have bodily injuries without having personal injuries; however, if someone has suffered personal injuries, bodily injuries are generally included.

For example, in a serious car accident where the victim suffers from whiplash and, their car is damaged, and they develop PTSD due to the crash, could file a personal injury claim that would include bodily injury.

On the other hand, an individual who slips and falls on someone’s property and sustains a physical injury but suffers no mental or emotional trauma and has no damage to their personal belongings might file a claim of only bodily injury.

If you have had the misfortune of suffering at the hands of someone else, know that our legal team at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC is here to help you.

We have the experience you need to pursue legal action against negligent or reckless individuals, such as those who cause car accidents that lead to your hospitalization or those who are negligent in their duties as a pet owner and whose dog bites you.

With the information we’ve provided here for you and the assistance of an experienced Baltimore car crash attorney, you can hold those who harmed you responsible for their actions.

A consultation with our firm is always free.



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