When someone gets hurt there are two phrases you will often hear: bodily injury and personal injury. Some tend to use the terms interchangeably, but they actually have two distinct meanings. If you’ve been in an accident or have a loved one who has, here’s what you need to know about the legal definitions and ramifications of personal and bodily injuries.

What is a Personal Injury? An element of civil law, a personal injury claim compensates victims of accidents or social injustices, like defamation. The plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is the individual who suffered the injury. When an accident results in the death of the victim, the plaintiff is the representative of the deceased individual’s estate. Defendants in personal injury lawsuits are the individual or company or group whose negligence resulted in the injury or loss. When the defendant in a personal injury case asserts blame to another party, the other party named is referred to as the cross-defendant.

What is Bodily Injury? Bodily injury is different from personal injury because it deals with a specific injury to the body of an individual that was caused by another. The phrase references specific injuries that were sustained. Bodily injury is a term that is more commonly used to refer to injuries sustained in connection to criminal cases, but it can also come up in personal injury cases when it comes to insurance.

Potential personal injury plaintiffs should consider the statute of limitations applied to claims in their state. Failing to make a personal injury claim within the statutory limitation window could mean losing the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. The other legal issue to consider in connection with personal injury cases is liability. In some cases, the jury may conclude that the plaintiff was partially or wholly at fault for the accident or for their own injuries. The compensation an injured individual potentially receives is reduced in accordance with their share of the liability for the accident. In cases where the plaintiff in the case is found to be more than 50% liable for the accident, they will not be entitled to receive damages.

When making a personal injury claim, the burden of proof is relatively low in comparison to criminal cases because the focus is on compensating the individual (plaintiff) for their loss or injury. In order to receive compensation, a plaintiff must show that the defendant behaved negligently. If you feel you have a valid personal injury claim and you need assistance seeking compensation for your loss, please get in touch with one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Aronow Law PC.