”Great Bodily Injury” Definition California

Great bodily injury is statutorily defined as "a significant or substantial physical injury." (§ 12022.7, subd. (f).) Such injury is to be "'distinguished from trivial or insignificant injury or moderate harm.'" (People v. Cross (2008) 45 Cal.4th 58, 63 (Cross), quoting People v. Miller (1977) 18 Cal.3d 873, 883.)

While that determination may involve the drawing of fine lines, "where to draw that line is for the jury to decide." (Cross, supra, at p. 64; People v. Jaramillo (1979) 98 Cal.App.3d 830, 836; People v. Clay (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 433, 460.)

As the California Supreme Court "has long held that determining whether a victim has suffered physical harm amounting to great bodily injury is not a question of law for the court but a factual inquiry to be resolved by the jury." (Cross, supra, 45 Cal.4th at p. 64.)

In People v. Escobar (1992) 3 Cal.4th 740, the California Supreme Court found great bodily injury based on injuries sustained by a rape victim, comprised of "extensive bruises and abrasions over the victim's legs, knees and elbows, injury to her neck and soreness in her vaginal area of such severity that it significantly impaired her ability to walk." (Id. at p. 750.)

The high court emphasized that section 12022.7 did not require permanent, prolonged, or protracted disfigurement, impairment, or loss of bodily function. (Ibid.)