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Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury Differences Explained

Posted on May 12, 2023

For most individuals, their minds likely conjure up no difference between the phrases “bodily injury” and “personal injury.” However, when it comes to the civil legal system, it is important to define the difference between these two. These two phrases have different meanings depending on the context in which they get used, and we want to examine those differences here.

Civil Court Processes vs. Criminal Court Processes – How Does This Apply?

When you look at the court systems, this is one area where you will likely see the terms “personal injury” and “bodily injury” used often. If we examine the civil court system and the criminal court system, we can see that there is a difference in how these two separate systems identify injuries.

Cases that go before a criminal court for an injury are usually there after a person has been assaulted or become the victim of some other type of crime that resulted in harm to their person. Usually, charges are brought by prosecutors after a person is arrested, and you will see most laws that mention misdemeanor or felony charges individuals can face if they cause a “bodily injury” to another person.

However, if we look at the civil court system in Illinois, we will see that the term “personal injury” is more likely to show up. This usually happens in the form of a personal injury lawsuit filed by a plaintiff (an injury victim) against a defendant (the person or entity alleged to have caused the injury). When a person files a lawsuit against another person in civil court, this does not necessarily mean that the defendant committed a criminal action. What it means is that their negligence may have caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

However, personal injury lawsuits can be filed against individuals who committed criminal acts and caused an injury. This would be separate from the criminal case and essentially has little to do with the outcome of any criminal case.

Vehicle Insurance and Bodily Injury Language

One area where you do see some overlap between bodily injury and personal injury issues has to do with automobile insurance in Illinois. Drivers in every state are required to carry a specific amount of bodily injury protection insurance period in Illinois. The minimum requirement for bodily injury liability coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.

The law in Illinois requires bodily injury coverage for drivers, but this type of insurance will pay for injuries the policyholder causes another party in an accident. Thus, this is the overlap between bodily injury language and typical civil law processes.

Can You Recover Compensation After an Injury?

Individuals are often able to recover compensation after sustaining an injury caused by the actions of another party. This injury could have happened as a result of a crime committed against the person or as a result of a careless or negligent act of another party not related to a crime.

The types of compensation often available through a personal injury lawsuit include complete coverage of medical bills associated with the injury and recovery process, recovery of lost wages if a person cannot work, property damage expenses, and pain and suffering losses the victim endures.