When someone is injured due to the negligence of another individual, it is often a confusing and stressful time. It is important to understand that there are different types of injuries and varying laws that govern each of them them. In this article, we’re going to deep dive into the differences between bodily injury and personal injury, and how they are treated under Virginia law.
Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury
The terms “bodily injury” and “personal injury” are often used interchangeably, but did you know they refer to different things? Bodily injury specifically refers to physical harm to a person’s body, such as broken bones, cuts, bruises, or other injuries sustained in an accident. Personal injury on the other hand refers to any type of harm or injury that is caused by the actions of another individual, including both physical and mental/emotional harm.
In other words, all bodily injuries are personal injuries, but not all personal injuries are bodily injuries. For example, if a person is injured in a car accident and suffers whiplash, that is both a bodily injury and a personal injury. However, if a person is involved in a slip and fall accident and only suffers emotional distress, that is considered a personal injury, but not a bodily injury.
Virginia Law on Bodily Injury
Legally, bodily injury is defined as “bodily harm, sickness, or disease, including death resulting from any of these at any time.” This definition is broad and covers a wide range of physical injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to severe injuries that can lead to disability or death.
When someone is injured in an accident in Virginia, they may be entitled to compensation for their bodily injuries. This compensation can include payment for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the injury. In order to recover these damages, the injured person must be able to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident that resulted in their bodily injury.
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Virginia law also imposes a statute of limitations on bodily injury claims. A statute of limitations means that the injured person must file their claim within a certain amount of time after the accident, or they will lose their right to seek compensation. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for bodily injury claims is two years from the date of the accident.
Virginia Law on Personal Injury
Personal injury covers a wide range of harm or injury caused by the actions of another individual. This can include bodily injuries, but it can also include other types of harm, such as emotional distress, reputational damage, or loss of companionship.
Under Virginia law, a person who has suffered personal injury could be entitled to compensation for their damages. This can include coverage of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the personal injury. Much like with bolidy injury, in order to recover these damages, the injured person must be able to prove that the other party was at fault for the personal injury.
Virginia law also imposes a statute of limitations on personal injury claims. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is also two years from the date of the injury.
Comparing Bodily Injury and Personal Injury
While bodily injury and personal injury are related, there are some key important differences between the two. Bodily injury refers specifically to physical harm to a person’s body, while personal injury covers a wider range of harm or injury caused by the actions of another person or entity. In addition, bodily injury claims are typically focused on compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages related to physical injuries, while personal injury claims can include compensation for a wider range of damages, such as emotional distress or reputational damage.
In terms of Virginia law, there are some similarities between bodily injury and personal injury claims. Both types of claims require the injured person to prove that the other party was at fault for the injury, and both types of claims are subject to the same statute of limitations of two years.
It is important to note that Virginia law also recognizes the concept of contributory negligence, which can impact both bodily injury and personal injury claims. Contributory negligence means that if the injured person is found to have contributed to their own injuries in any way, they may be barred from recovering any damages at all. This is a strict standard that is unique to Virginia and a few other states, and it can make it more challenging for injured parties to recover compensation.
Understanding the differences between bodily injury and personal injury, and how they are treated under Virginia law, is important for anyone who has been injured due to the actions of another person or entity. Often it is difficult to truly understand the difference between the two, which is when a personal injury attorney is important to make your case as strong as possible.
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