Like most people, you probably have a general idea of what bodily injury liability coverage is, but you may not know exactly what it entails. In short, bodily injury liability coverage is insurance that helps protect you financially if you are at fault for an accident. It can also help cover the costs associated with defending yourself in court.
Contact a car accident lawyer at The Fran Haasch Law Group today for a free case evaluation if you feel you have been the victim of a car accident through no fault of your own and have questions about how to file a bodily injury claim.
The Importance of Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Bodily injury liability coverage (“BIL”) is not required in Florida. Instead, Florida drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance and property damage liability.
However, BIL is one of the most important coverages you can have. BIL doesn’t just help pay for the other party’s damages but it also helps cover the costs associated with defending yourself in court. Legal fees add up quickly and without this coverage, most drivers find themselves with significant financial troubles.
What Does Bodily Injury Liability Cover?
Bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for:
If you cause an accident, bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for injured passengers and the driver of the other vehicle’s medical costs, including ambulance fees and hospital stays.
Bodily injury liability coverage can also help cover the wages that the other driver and passengers lose if they cannot work because of their injuries.
Pain and Suffering
In some cases, bodily injury liability coverage can also help with the other driver’s pain and suffering. This can be difficult to quantify, but it includes any lingering pain or emotional distress the other party suffered due to their injuries.
If the other driver dies due to an accident you caused, bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for funeral expenses and additional related costs.
If you are sued due to an accident, bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for your legal fees and help cover high court costs.
How Do I Get Bodily Injury Insurance?
Contact your insurance agent to add bodily injury liability coverage to your policy. The cost of bodily injury liability coverage will vary depending on your insurer and the amount of coverage you purchase.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage vs. Property Damage Liability Coverage
Bodily injury liability coverage helps protect you financially if you are at fault for an accident and someone is injured. On the other hand, property damage liability coverage can help pay to repair or replace the other driver’s vehicle if you are at fault for an accident.
While both types of coverage are important, bodily injury liability coverage is typically required by law in most states (it is not required in Florida), while property damage liability coverage is not.
What Are the Bodily Injury Coverage Limits?
The maximum amount your insurance company will pay for medical expenses and other damages is the bodily injury coverage limit.
Per Person Limits vs. Per Accident Limits
Most policies have two types of bodily injury coverage limits: per person and per accident. The per person limit is the maximum amount your insurer will pay for each person injured in an accident you caused. The per accident limit is the maximum amount your insurer will pay for all injuries sustained in a single accident, regardless of how many people were injured.
For example, let’s say you cause an accident that injures four people. The per person limit on your policy is $100,000 and the per accident limit is $300,000. In this case, the four injured people would split the $300,000, with each person possibly getting up to the $100,000 maximum.
This is the most common type of bodily injury coverage limit, but there are $100,000/$200,000 or $100,000 combined single limit policies.
How Does Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Work?
Bodily injury liability coverage is typically offered as part of a car insurance policy. It is usually sold in two varieties: combined single-limit and split-limit. You must select limits to determine the maximum amount your insurance company will pay if you need to use this insurance coverage.
A combined single-limit policy includes a specific dollar amount of coverage that is divided between bodily injury and property damage based on the nature of the accident.
Under a split-limit policy, your insurer determines how much it will pay for each injured person and for the entire accident ahead of time. For example, these policies are usually written as 100/300/20.
The first number, 100, stands for $100,000 and is your limit per person. The second number, 300, is the limit per accident, which would be $300,000. The third number, 20, is how much your insurer will pay for property damage due to the accident, which is $20,000.
Umbrella Insurance And Limits
If you want even more protection, you can purchase an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy is an insurance that provides extra coverage on top of your existing policies. While umbrella policies have higher limits than standard car insurance policies, they typically require a minimal underlying limit of 250/500 or $300,000 combined single limit policy.
For example, if you have a combined single limit policy of $300,000, but the other party’s medical bills are $400,000, your umbrella policy would help cover the additional costs up to the policy’s limit. If you were sued for more than your bodily injury liability policy limit, this coverage would provide additional protection.
How Much BIL Coverage Do I Need?
So, how much bodily injury liability coverage should you carry? That depends on a few factors, including the laws in your state and your financial situation. There are no minimum amounts for bodily injury in Florida. However, having a bodily injury policy is the best way to protect yourself if you are at fault for an accident.
Let’s say you have a bodily injury liability policy with limits of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident. If you cause an accident that injures three people, your insurer will pay out a maximum of $300,000 for all their injuries combined. If the total cost of their medical expenses and other damages exceeds $300,000, you would be responsible for paying the difference.
If you cause an accident with significant injuries, you could be sued for much more than your policy limit. In some cases, this can even lead to personal bankruptcy. This is why it’s important to have adequate bodily injury liability coverage.
While Florida doesn’t have minimum car insurance requirements for bodily injury. You should add it to your policy to avoid this financial nightmare. You should also consider purchasing more than the minimum amount of coverage if you can afford it.
Bodily Injury Claims
A bodily injury liability claim is a demand for compensation for expenses for bodily injuries sustained in a car accident. Bodily injury claims are paid by either the injured party’s insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance.
How to File a Bodily Injury Claim
If you need to file a bodily injury claim in Florida, the process is similar to filing any other type of car insurance claim.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Before attempting to file a claim with the insurance company, speak with a lawyer. Having an attorney represent you can make the process much easier, especially in cases where you’ve suffered a serious injury. At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we can help you document and negotiate the claim settlement.
Seek Medical Treatment and Keep Track of Your Documents
After an accident, it’s important to get medical attention right away, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Once you receive treatment, be sure to keep all your medical records and bills. These documents will be used to support your claim.
File the Claim
When you contact the insurance company, you will then need to provide them with information about the accident, including when and where it happened and who was involved.
You will also need to provide your insurance company with a copy of the police report and any other documentation you have related to the accident. This may include medical bills, repair estimates, and pictures of the damage.
Once your insurance company has all the necessary information, they will investigate the accident. They will also determine who is at fault and how much the other party’s damages are worth.
Review and Sign the Settlement Offer
Once the insurance company has finished its investigation, it will make a settlement offer. This is an amount of money that they are willing to pay to settle the claim.
It’s important to carefully review the settlement offer with your attorney before deciding whether to accept it. Make sure that you understand what is being offered and that you are comfortable with the amount.
You should also consider whether or not you will be able to afford any future medical expenses related to the accident. Once you accept a settlement, you will likely be unable to file any additional claims for damages.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we are committed to fighting for your fair recovery. We strive to help injured individuals and the loved ones of those wrongfully killed secure the full, fair recovery they are owed. We offer dedicated legal representation for car accident victims and bicycle, rideshare, and semi-truck accident victims.
If you feel you have been the victim of a car accident through no fault of your own. Our attorneys are prepared to help you navigate the legal process and work toward securing the maximum compensation you are owed. Call (727) 784-8191 or contact us online to get started on receiving maximum compensation for your personal injury case.