Personal Injury vs. Bodily Injury

Two of the terms you may hear in some legal cases are “Personal Injury” and “Bodily Injury.” While the two terms can sometimes overlap within the same case, there are important distinctions. We at Trammell & Mills have some definitions and examples that may help clear up any confusion.

Personal Injury is a legal claim of harm to any person that was caused by the negligence or misconduct of someone else. This is physical injury to a person, rather than damage to property or reputation. The cause is usually carelessness or a disregard for the safety of others, not an intentional or malicious act.

If you slip in a puddle of water at a grocery store and fall, you might injure your wrist as you hit the floor. The store had not mopped up the spill, and there were no warning signs that the floor was wet. This would be a personal injury caused by the carelessness of the store staff because they neglected to clean the spill or warn you.  If your neighbor invites you into his yard and you step into a hole he hadn’t filled in or told you to avoid, the twisted knee you got would be a personal injury.

The most common types of personal injuries include traffic accidents where the other person is at fault, injuries to pedestrians who are walking or bicycling, work injuries due to unsafe conditions or equipment, defective products that didn’t function as advertised, and bites from unsecured dogs. In some cases, the injury could also be emotional or psychological damage caused by the trauma of the event.

Legally, there are three elements necessary to establish a personal injury due to negligence. Did the other party have a duty to warn or protect you from the danger that caused the injury? Did they breach that duty by taking no action? And did their breach of duty actually cause the injury?

Personal injury cases can result in three types of payment: Special Damages, which cover economic costs of the injury; General Damages, which compensate for noneconomic effects like pain and suffering, distress, disfigurement, or dismemberment; and Punitive Damages, which can be paid in cases of extreme recklessness like repeated negligence.

Bodily Injury is a term that covers any injury to the body, whether it’s temporary or permanent. This includes cuts, lacerations, abrasions, burns, and bruises, as well as broken bones and internal bleeding. The term also applies to concussions or whiplash from a car accident, and impairment of function to a bodily member, mental faculty, or organ. Bodily injuries are considered economic damage to the victim, and can be measured in dollar terms. Hospital and doctor visits, ambulance rides, prescription costs, and loss of future earnings are all considered in such calculations.

Bodily injuries are an important factor in personal injury cases. At Trammell & Mills, we are personal injury attorneys who stand ready to help sort out the details of any negligence incident that may have caused you physical harm. Call us at (864) 485-8585 so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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