Bodily Injury vs Personal Injury: A Comparison Guide


During an accident, you often hear someone has sustained personal or bodily injuries. While these sound like they are interchangeable, they are different. Both can be used to claim compensation from an accident, but they are applied differently to a legal case.

Sound complicated? It isn’t once you understand how they differ. Let’s dig into bodily injury vs personal injury.

Injury from an Accident

Both bodily injury and personal injury are the result of trauma occurring from an accident or assault. These include:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Criminal assaults
  • Mass tort
  • Animal attack
  • Faulty consumer products

Some other incidents and accidents can lead to an injury claim, but at its basic, a bodily injury is a claim of a physical injury alone. In contrast, a personal injury is a claim arising from an injury but can include both physical and mental. Consult a personal injury lawyer for more information.

Bodily Injury

When you are involved in an accident or assault, injuries may include:

  • Cuts, lacerations and scrapes
  • Burns
  • Bruises
  • Internal bleeding
  • Fractures
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Organ damage
  • Neck injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of limbs or amputation
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

These are the direct, physical results of the accident that may be visible, like a broken leg, or not visible, as in a concussion and are very specific to the type of injury and part of the body. It is included in an insurance policy to compensate a victim of an accident, and you can be provided compensation through an insurance claim for your injuries.

Bodily Injury Compensation

Bodily injury is also a term used in criminal law when someone is assaulted, and a perpetrator is charged with assault, often resulting in criminal penalties.

Compensation may include:

  • Doctor’s bills
  • Hospital bills
  • Ambulance bills
  • Surgery bills
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Ongoing and future medical expenses
  • Current and future lost earnings

There is also bodily injury liability insurance to compensate other drivers, passengers and pedestrians for their injuries when an insured person is liable. Usually, traffic accidents also cause property damage, but this is not covered through bodily injury insurance. A bodily injury settlement will not include any non-economic damages, but these can add up to over 50% of a personal injury claim.

Personal Injury

Personal injury is a legal claim of harm resulting from an accident or attack involving bodily harm through negligence or misconduct. While bodily harm is included in personal injury, emotional distress and mental anguish are also part of it.

Personal injury can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Embarrassment from scarring and disfigurement
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment

These last two are often the result of a disability or permanent impairment.

Legal Aspects of Personal Injury Claim

There are several different legal aspects of a personal injury claim as well.


Someone who claims a personal injury will impose a financial liability on the person responsible or share in the liability if they are both at fault.

The Burden Of Proof

It is the victim’s responsibility to prove responsibility for an injury, and it is a “preponderance of the evidence,” or to prove that something is more likely than not rather than the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” claim.

Statute Of Limitations

With a personal injury, there is a discovery of harm that usually occurs right after the time an incident occurred. Then, you only have two years to make a claim. This is in most provinces and states.

How to win a personal injury claim

To win a personal injury claim, there are four elements to prove:


Proof must be given to show that monetary damages can compensate for the harm caused by the defendant.


The defendant had a duty of care owing to you, like driving safely or exercising professional skills.


This shows that the defendant failed to provide adequate duty of care.


Causation is negligence that leads to the injury or harm that you suffered.



When seeking compensation for a personal injury, bodily harm is only one aspect. All-encompassing, a claim will include the following:

  • Medical expenses now and in the future
  • Loss of earnings as a result of the injury
  • Occupational disability if the injuries prevent you from returning to work
  • Personal property damage
  • Pain and suffering as a result of your injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • Psychological suffering

This is bodily injury vs personal injury, and while both are the result of trauma from an injury or assault, you must prove causation and fault to establish any liability to seek damages. It is wise to seek the advice of an injury lawyer to guide you through working towards a fair settlement for any current and prolonged injuries.