What is Considered a Serious Bodily Injury?

Accidents like car wrecks and slip and falls cause many different types of injuries to victims. Some injuries are relatively minor, and a victim should heal within a matter of weeks. But other bodily injuries are serious, and our clients deserve substantial compensation to assist them.

Serious bodily injuries cause our clients to miss out on school or work because the pain or bodily limitation is too much to overcome. Below, our Toledo personal injury lawyer looks at some common features of serious bodily injuries.

Temporary or Permanent Impairment

Any injury that impairs a person’s capacity to move or feel sensation is a serious bodily injury. A person with a serious bodily injury cannot take care of themselves or return to work. They might even become helpless and need someone’s assistance bathing, eating, and cleaning up.

Bodily injuries that cause impairment include:

  • Back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractures, particularly on the leg or ribs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations

Impairments can be permanent, or they might improve with sufficient rest and rehabilitation. For example, leg fractures can make it impossible to walk for so long that a person needs rehab to reverse muscle atrophy. Someone who loses a limb, however, has suffered a permanent loss.


Bodily injuries that require surgery are serious. Someone with fractures might need a pin, screw, or plate inserted to hold bone fragments together so they can heal. Other surgeries are necessary to stop bleeding or fix damaged tissue or organs.

Surgery is a serious undertaking, and complications are common. Minor injuries rarely, if ever, require surgery, so being wheeled into the operating room is a sign that your injury is significant.

Acute Pain

Any bodily injury that causes sharp, intense pain is serious. When suffering from pain, a person cannot move or go about their daily business with ease. Pain typically impairs sleep and can lead to depression or other emotional problems.

Even if a person can take painkillers, pain is still a serious injury. Painkillers, such as opioids, often cloud a person’s thinking and alter their mood. Coming off painkillers is also difficult.

There are many sources of pain, including fractures, compressed nerves, and soft-tissue injuries. Sometimes, the pain has no obvious source but is still disabling.

Intense Emotional Anguish

Any bodily injury that causes intense emotional distress can qualify as serious. A disfiguring facial injury, for example, might not be physically immobilizing. However, the embarrassment and anxiety it causes could force a person to stay inside and avoid human contact. When a person’s injury requires psychiatric treatment or prescription drugs, then it is serious.


Burn injuries are unique in that all of the above characteristics are present. Someone who suffers a serious burn will experience intense pain and be immobilized as they wait for the burn to heal. However, burns can also lead to contractures and blisters, which limit the range of mobility. Rehabilitation and surgery are common.

Not every burn is serious. If you have a small, shallow burn, it will heal relatively quickly. Second- or third-degree burns, by contrast, often require skin grafts and longer rest times.

Contact Groth & Associates Today

Serious bodily injuries warrant serious compensation. Get the legal help you need by calling our Toledo personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.