What is the Difference Between Personal and Bodily Injury?

Anytime a person sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, they will likely wonder whether or not they can recover compensation. It may even be the case that the at-fault party needs to face criminal charges for causing harm to another individual. Regardless of the injury situation, there are two terms that are regularly used here – “bodily injury” and “personal injury.” While these two terms may look very similar, the reality is that they have different meanings when it comes to the court systems. Here, we want to discuss the difference between personal and bodily injury by giving examples of when you may see these terms pop up.

Civil Court Versus Criminal Court in Washington

One of the main differences between the terms bodily and personal injury comes in the form of which court system is handling a particular case. For example, the criminal court system in Washington is designed to handle incidents where a person is charged with a crime by prosecutors or law enforcement officials. The role of the court is to determine innocence or guilt and then hand down appropriate sentences if a person is convicted. We often hear the term bodily injury used in the criminal court process because there are various statutes that use this term. A person can be charged criminally for causing bodily injury to someone else.

When we look at the civil court system, this is where we see personal injury cases arise. Anytime an individual is harmed due to the careless or negligent actions of someone else, they may file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Car Insurance and Bodily Injury Coverage

One area where we do see the term bodily injury and the civil system interact has to do with vehicle insurance. When we look at the auto insurance for drivers in Washington, we see the following:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage: $10,000

Here, we can see that every driver must carry and maintain bodily injury liability coverage in order to remain legal on the roadway. This type of coverage is designed to pay for any injuries other parties sustain in an accident caused by the insured individual.

Getting Compensation After an Injury

After a person sustains an injury, the ultimate goal will be to secure compensation from the at-fault party. For a personal injury case in the civil court system in Washington, individuals will typically be able to recover various types of compensation if their case is successful. This can include coverage of their medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more.

However, the criminal court system is not necessarily designed to pay compensation to bodily injury victims. However, victims of bodily injury can actually file civil lawsuits against the person who caused their injury, regardless of whether or not the person faces criminal charges or is found guilty and convicted.

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another person, you need to speak to a skilled Washington personal injury lawyer for help as soon as possible. An attorney can examine your case, conduct a complete investigation, and help secure compensation for your losses.