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What Is The Difference Between Bodily Injury And Personal Injury?

By Butler Prather LLP on March 11, 2021

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of somebody else in Georgia, there is a chance you will be able to recover compensation for your losses. You have also probably heard two terms thrown around that may seem familiar – “personal injury” and “bodily injury.”

At first glance, it seems like these two terms mean the same thing. The reality is that both of these terms have different meanings depending on what context they are used in. Specifically, their meanings differ when it comes to the legal realm and recovering compensation. Here, we want to discuss the difference between “personal injury” and “bodily injury” and how this could affect the compensation you or a family member receives after sustaining an injury.

Civil Court Versus Criminal Court Terms

People are often confused about the difference between criminal court and civil court procedures. These are two different courts that handle entirely separate matters. Often, we hear the term “bodily injury” used in reference to criminal cases. That is because the phrase “bodily injury” actually occurs throughout criminal statutes in Georgia to reference what happens when one person causes an injury to another person during the commission of a crime. This typically enhances the penalties on the alleged defendant.

The term “personal injury” occurs regularly in civil court claims. In these cases, a person can file a personal injury lawsuit if the careless or negligent actions of another individual cause them some type of harm. In some cases, the harm that they are seeking compensation for refers to a physical injury, but this can also refer to non-physical injuries such as pain and suffering losses, damage to reputation, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.

We also want to mention the difference between the criminal and civil court in Georgia because injury victims usually do not receive compensation if a defendant is found guilty of a criminal charge (except maybe through a victims’ restitution fund). In a personal injury claim in civil court, a person is typically able to recover full compensation for their injuries and other losses if they are successful.

Car Insurance Policies and Bodily Injury

One place where we do see “personal” and “bodily” injury terms collide is the realm of car accident insurance. For example, let us take a look at the required types of insurance that all drivers must have to remain legal on Georgia roadways:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability: $25,000 per accident

When we look at this insurance, we can see that all drivers are required to maintain bodily injury liability coverage so they can remain legal on the roadway. This type of insurance will pay for any injuries that the insured causes if they are the one at fault in an accident. Typically, this will cover the injury victim’s medical bills and lost wages.

Personal Injury Claims and Compensation

Personal injury cases filed in civil court could allow injury victims to recover a wide range of types of compensation. While no two cases are exactly alike, it is not uncommon for personal injury victims to recover the following in a successful settlement or jury verdict:

  • Complete coverage of their medical bills
  • Lost income if they cannot work
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Property damage expenses
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of quality of life damages

There is no set amount of money awarded in these cases. Rather, the total amount of compensation will vary depending on various facts and circumstances surrounding each particular situation.

Posted in: Personal Injury

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