Are Injuries Sustained in an Automobile Accident Considered Bodily or Personal Injuries Under the Law?

Car Accident
Car Accident

In the event of an automobile accident, victims may suffer a variety of different types of injuries with varying degrees of severity. In some cases, these injuries may appear rather mild and could feasibly heal over time with little to no visible signs of injury afterward. Aside from physical pain and temporary discomfort, it might seem as though there would be limited long-term implications from such seemingly minor accidents. But depending on the details surrounding each specific incident, victims may find that their medical bills are significantly higher than anticipated or that their insurance policy does not extend coverage for certain details. Even more concerning are those instances where victims may discover that their accidents were far more serious than originally believed. This is often the case when victims fail to disclose all pertinent information about their medical history or pre-existing conditions. In such situations, even seemingly minor automobile accidents can have much larger implications down the road.

Bodily Injuries and Their Legal Meaning

Bodily injuries are defined as any physical injury. This includes any damage or harm inflicted upon the human or animal body. The law firm refers to these types of injuries as being “sustained in or arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle.” Any injuries sustained during an automobile accident are considered bodily injuries.

Depending on the injuries’ severity, they may fall within one of several different categories. The law defines serious bodily injuries as those that result in death, cause extreme disfigurement, cause permanent disability, or cause permanent loss or impairment of any bodily function. In any other case, the injuries are considered non-serious bodily injuries.

Personal Injuries and Their Legal Meaning

Personal injuries are any injuries or damages sustained due to a negligent act. Such acts may include improper maintenance of vehicles, negligent driving or parking, or the use of defective or dangerous products. Personal injuries differ from bodily injuries in that they refer to the damages sustained rather than the physical harm inflicted upon the body. Thus, even though personal injuries may result in visible and lasting damage to the body, they may not be considered bodily injuries under the law because they are not caused by physical damage to the body.

Differences Between Bodily and Personal Injuries.

Beyond their respective definitions and legal implications, bodily and personal injuries are also very different from a medical standpoint. Bodily injuries damage the physical body, while personal injuries damage the body’s functions. Bodily injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations, and the like, are obvious and have a clear, direct impact on the physical appearance of a victim. Such injuries may be visible to those around the victim and can be verified through medical testing. Personal injuries, on the other hand, are generally not visible. They refer to issues that impact the body’s functions, such as brain damage, internal bleeding, or issues with internal organs. Onlookers generally cannot see internal bleeding and other issues of this nature.

The Importance of Proving Severity of Bodily Injuries

Victims of automobile accidents who sustained bodily injuries will often seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. In such cases, it is the victim’s responsibility to prove the severity of their injuries. How they go about doing so can significantly impact the outcome of their case. To establish the severity of their injuries, victims must prove that they cannot engage in their normal activities of daily living. This is done by documenting the specific effects of the injuries on the victim. Doing so will make it easier for the victim to prove their injuries were severe enough to warrant compensation from the insurance company. This is especially important in cases where the injuries appear to be minor but have long-term implications or are expected to heal at a slow pace.


For automobile accident victims to receive the full compensation they are owed by law, they must be able to prove the severity of their injuries. For this reason, victims must report all pertinent details about their accidents and injuries, regardless of how mild they may seem. This will help ensure that victims receive the compensation they are owed and will help to prevent others from being taken advantage of by insurance companies in the future. In addition, victims should be aware of the importance of reporting their medical history and pre-existing conditions to their doctors and medical professionals. This will help ensure that injuries or complications resulting from these conditions do not go unnoticed and can help to prevent future complications and increase the overall quality of care provided.