More serious than mere physical injury, serious bodily injury is one which involves substantial risk of death, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ or mental facility. It involves serious mental illness or impairment. It is defined in Section 1365(h)(3) of Title 18, U.S. Code. While the physical injury is one which is a minor or superficial injury, serious physical injury may involve, in addition to those mentioned above, unconsciousness and extreme physical pain.
Serious bodily injury is a legal term which can be used in Criminal Cases. It may be a result of either intentional or unintentional, such as neglect, conduct. Each state may have a different definition of such condition. Generally, it may include conditions such as paralysis, loss of limb, loss of functioning in a limb, and broken bones, head, neck or spine injuries, serious cuts or burns, and scarring or serious disfigurement.
Serious bodily injury is used in Criminal Cases and may change the outcome of the case. It can elevate a simple misdemeanor charge to a felony. It imposes a substantially greater sentence. Such is the case because serious bodily injury is an aggravating circumstance or factor. This may result in criminal fines and a prison sentence of at least one year. These crimes are prosecuted very strictly. In this case, hiring an experienced criminal lawyer would be for the best interest of the client. He or she can represent the best interests of his or her client. Moreover, he or she can present defenses for the benefit of the client. Legal advice and representation are important to determine the liability of a client and also as to the damages and other awards to the victim.
The term “serious bodily injury” is also used interchangeably with “great bodily injury”; “serious bodily harm” or “grievous bodily harm”. Examples of conditions which may be considered sufficient to charge a person with serious bodily injury include but are not limited to the following:
– Victim on crutches or inability to work for months or for a certain amount of time
– Lacerations on the head or face which may require stitches
– Severe injuries and heavy bleeding and swelling which took several days of hospital and medical treatment
– Medical records showing that the victim suffered fractures, facial trauma, and prescribed pain medication to alleviate the pain and other condition
– Being out of consciousness for a minute after being hit and pain in areas around the head and face
– Forceful blow which rendered the victim semiconscious and unable to move or defend himself
– Infliction of great bodily injury to a child or minor
– Abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult
To determine whether an injury is a “bodily injury” or a “serious bodily injury,” it has been held that if the serious bodily injury would have resulted in the absence of a medical intervention, then it would meet the statutory requirements making it a “serious bodily injury.” The main factor is the substantiality of pain, risk, disfigurement or impairment which is created.