Injury generally refers to a harm suffered, which may be physical or emotional pain and suffering, damage to reputation or dignity, loss of a legal right, breach of contract, or damage to real or personal property. The civil law seeks to compensate victims of wrongful acts, whether they are intentional or unintentional, for the injuries that could reasonably be expected from such acts. Injuries must be proven by the plaintiff and evidence may be introduced to support the amount, if any, of money damages sought. The seriousness of the injury depends on medical evidence, usually proven by expert testimony. The distinction between a minor, serious, and grave injury is not subject to precise definition and varies according to applicable law and subjective interpretations by the finder of fact.
For example, in a personal injury lawsuit, among the types of damages the injured party may recover are: loss of earnings capacity, pain and suffering, and reasonable medical expenses. They include both present and future expected losses. In some instances, the court will order a type of relief other than a monetary award, such as an injunction, to remedy an injury that money cannot correct.
The definition of injury varies by jurisdiction. The following is an example of a state statute defining injuries:
"''Physical injury'' is defined as impairment of physical condition or pain. ''Serious physical injury'' is something more serious than mere physical injury. It is more than a minor or superficial injury. It is defined by statute as physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ."