What does the Torah say about personal injury?
(Note: One of my colleagues seems to have read this question as concerning what I would call self-inflicted injuries. I read it as dealing with Torts - injuries caused between persons, not necessarily physical, by wrongful acts, neglect, or default - as used in the American legal system, though the Jewish Halachah is often broader in certain aspects.)
The Torah speaks volumes about personal injuries (injuries between persons). From the discussion in the Torah about the damages owed if a pregnant woman is struck by accident and loses the fetus, to the setting of compensation plus punitive damages owed for wrongful taking, to the rules for division of property when no direct heir is left, to the responsibility of an agent to the owner in a failed bailment, to the obligation of an employer to their employees, to one who injures by speech; and to the obligation to the rightful owner by one who finds an object; all address issues of the rights and responsibilities of persons towards one another, and how an injury or a wrong can and should be redressed.
The concepts set forth in the Torah are further elucidated in the Talmud, and then in the Codes of Jewish law. The end result is that Jewish law is extremely well-developed and clear in this area. There is one order (one of six) of the Mishnah (Nezikin – Damages) on this, and the entire related order of the Talmud focuses on this concept.
This is such a broad realm that it is really impossible to summarize it and present it in any fairness. There are many good books, articles, and texts that deal with aspects of the topic, most readily available or searchable online.
Rabbi Joe Blair
Answered by: Rabbi Joseph Blair