тілесні ушкодження

Personal injuries and liability for their infliction

One of the most common types of criminal offences is infliction of bodily harm. In conflict situations and self-defence attempts, there is a risk of harming other people. Almost anyone can get into such trouble, even those who never show aggression towards others.

In this article, we will discuss the concept of bodily harm and the peculiarities of liability for inflicting it. It is worth noting that a prerequisite for this type of crime is the presence of a victim.

Thus, bodily injury is a violation of the anatomical integrity and physiological function of organs or tissues that arise as a result of environmental factors, including as a result of unlawful actions.

The Criminal Code of Ukraine divides bodily injuries by their severity:

  • Minor
  • Moderate
  • Grievous

The severity of bodily injury is determined by the results of a forensic medical examination.

What do you need to know if you are charged with inflicting personal injuries?

Unfortunately, many law enforcement officers investigating criminal offences against life and health immediately try to incriminate the suspect with intentional acts, may put pressure on him or her, and openly disregard a number of pieces of evidence that refute his or her guilt. Therefore, if you have inflicted bodily harm on someone, the best thing to do is to immediately seek the assistance of a lawyer.

We also advise you to remember that:

  • The severity of the bodily injury is determined by an expert.
  • The severity of the bodily injury is affected by the duration of treatment and the duration of the health disorder associated with permanent disability.
  • If bodily injuries are inflicted during a fight, all participants can be held liable, except in cases of self-defence.

Minor bodily harm

Criminal liability for causing intentional light bodily harm is provided for in Article 125 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Intentional light bodily injury is divided into ordinary and those that caused a short-term health disorder or minor disability.

A short-term health disorder is defined as a health disorder lasting more than 6 days but not more than 21 days. Minor permanent disability is defined as a loss of total disability of up to 10%. As noted above, the percentage of disability is determined by a forensic medical examination.

For example, a broken nose can be considered a minor injury because it takes approximately this long for the nose bone to fuse up. Concussions, scratches, bruises, etc. can also be considered minor injuries.

Persons over 16 years of age may be held criminally liable for inflicting minor bodily harm.

Injuries of moderate severity

Criminal liability for intentional infliction of bodily harm of moderate severity is provided for in Article 122 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. This type of bodily injury is not life-threatening, but can cause long-term health problems or significant permanent disability.

A long-term health impairment is a dysfunction of an organ, namely, a weakening of the functions of the arm, leg, hearing, speech, vision, etc. In addition, a long-term health disorder may include cases of complete but temporary loss of organ function, as well as cases of damage to health not related to the impairment of any organ function, but which caused disability, such as an infectious disease.

A health disorder lasting more than 21 days is considered to be long-term. Persistent disability of less than one third is defined as a loss of total working capacity of 10% to 33%.

Criminal liability for inflicting bodily harm of moderate severity begins at the age of 14.

Grievous bodily harm

Criminal liability for intentional grievous bodily harm is provided for in Article 121 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Grievous bodily harm is defined as bodily harm that was life-threatening at the time of its infliction or that resulted in the loss of any organ or its functions, mental illness or other health disorder combined with a permanent disability of at least one third, or the termination of pregnancy or irreparable disfigurement of the face.

Life-threatening injuries are injuries that, at the time of infliction, cause life-threatening phenomena that, without medical care, normally result in death or may result in death.

Life-threatening injuries:

  • Those that penetrate into the cranial cavity, including those without damage to the brain.
  • Open and closed fractures of the bones of the cranial vault and skull base, except for the bones of the facial skeleton and an isolated fracture of the outer plate of the cranial vault only.
  • Severe brain contusion with or without cerebral compression, as well as moderate brain contusion with symptoms of brain stem damage.
  • Isolated intracranial haemorrhage, in the presence of life-threatening conditions.
  • Fractures of the pelvic bones, in the presence of life-threatening conditions, etc.

Mental illness is understood to mean mental illness. A mental illness is classified as a serious bodily injury only if it has led to the development of a mental illness, regardless of its duration and degree of curability.

An injury that led to the termination of pregnancy, regardless of its duration, is classified as serious if there is a direct causal link between the injury and the termination of pregnancy.

Disfigurement of the face is recognised as irreparable in cases where the victim’s facial injuries cannot be corrected except through surgical intervention (cosmetic surgery).

Criminal liability for causing grievous bodily harm begins at the age of 14.

Are there cases where bodily harm has been inflicted, but there is no punishment for it?

Such cases do exist, because in order to incur criminal liability, it must be proved that the bodily injury was inflicted intentionally. Therefore, it is not a crime to inflict bodily harm in circumstances where the limits of necessary defence have not been exceeded. For example, a person was returning home at night and was attacked by hooligans who threatened him with a cold weapon and tried to rob him. If he injures them in defence, he will not be held liable for his actions.

The same applies when a person helps to apprehend a criminal when he or she is trying to commit a crime. Also, bodily harm cannot be charged in cases involving contact sports. If one boxer breaks another’s nose in a fight, there is no liability for bodily harm.

In court practice, controversial issues often arise regarding the qualification of criminal offences such as infliction of bodily harm. As a rule, this is due to an incorrectly conducted forensic medical examination, so if there are reasonable doubts, the defence should not hesitate to order its own examination. This will ensure parity during the trial.

Всі поради