Although many minor collisions only result in property damage, sustaining injuries in a car accident is a startlingly common occurrence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 2.3 million people are treated at hospital emergency rooms every year in the U.S. due to motor vehicle-related injuries.
As a result, bodily injury liability (BI)—a type of coverage that pays for medical bills and injuries stemming from car accidents—is one of the most important types of auto insurance you can have. Learn more about bodily injury liability (including how much coverage you need) from the personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys.
Is Bodily Injury Liability Required in Every State?
With the exception of Florida, every state in the U.S. requires motorists to carry BI coverage. The required minimum amount of liability coverage for bodily injury liability ranges from $15,000 to $50,000 per injured person, with the most common minimum being $25,000.
Minimum liability coverage for bodily injury liability per accident ranges from $30,000 to $100,000, with the most common required minimum policy being $50,000. As a policyholder, you may also have the option of purchasing bodily injury liability coverage with higher policy limits than these.
What Does Bodily Injury Liability Cover?
Bodily injury liability covers the medical expenses related to injuries sustained in a car accident. This may include, but is not limited to:
- Medical Bills. BI covers expenses like hospital bills, rehabilitation or physical therapy, home healthcare, and follow-up appointments related to car accident injuries.
- Lost Wages. Someone who has been seriously injured may be unable to go to work for an extended period of time. This coverage can also compensate them for the loss of income they experience due to their injuries.
- Funeral Costs. If someone is killed in a car accident, bodily injury liability may provide compensation for end of life care and funeral expenses as part of a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Legal Fees. If a driver is sued by another motorist after a car accident, BI coverage can compensate you for legal defense fees and court costs.
- Pain and Suffering. Unlike the other examples listed above, calculating how much an injured victim deserves for their physical pain and emotional suffering after an accident can be tricky. That being said, bodily injury liability can cover these damages.
Note: Auto insurance policies often vary from company to company. To find out exactly what kind of coverage you have, contact your insurance agent directly or request a copy of your policy declarations page.
Does Bodily Injury Liability Cover Me?
If you live in a no-fault state, everyone in an accident files a claim with their own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. Drivers in no-fault states rely heavily on a type of mandated insurance coverage called Personal Injury Protection (PIP). However, if you live in an at-fault state, the insurance company of the motorist who was responsible for the car accident pays for the other party’s damages.
This is where BI coverage comes into play. Unfortunately, bodily injury liability does not cover your medical expenses. Bodily injury liability coverage under your insurance policy only covers the medical expenses for the other motorist(s), pedestrians, or cyclists involved in an accident you caused. If you live in an at-fault state but purchased optional coverage like PIP or MedPay, you can utilize this additional coverage for yourself even if you were the one who caused an accident.
Does Bodily Injury Liability Cover Passengers?
Since bodily injury liability is a type of third-party auto insurance, it will not cover your injuries. However, it may cover the medical expenses of your passengers, as long as you are not related to them. A BI policy will also cover the passengers of other vehicles involved in the accident. Again, you can often utilize PIP coverage or MedPay to supplement your medical expenses and those of your passengers (even if you are related).
How Much Bodily Injury Liability Do I Need?
While it might be tempting to go with the lowest possible car insurance policy limits in order to save money on your monthly premium, this may cost you in the long run if you cause a car accident that results in multiple injured passengers, catastrophic injuries, or death.
Although it may increase your monthly premium, investing in a higher bodily injury liability limit can help you protect yourself financially. Should the medical expenses from an accident exhaust your policy limits, an injured driver or passenger can sue you for their additional damages and your assets could be liquidated. For this reason, some experts recommend choosing a policy with limits equal to or greater than your total assets.
As a more general guideline, Consumer Reports suggests an auto insurance policy that covers $100,000 per person and up to $300,000 per accident, in addition to property damage of up to $100,000. If you also own a home, it might be worth considering an umbrella policy that will protect your car and home and offer better discounts.
Hurt in a Wreck? Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a car or motorcycle accident through no fault of your own, you can ensure that you are fairly compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering by consulting with an experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyer. Don’t fall victim to the deceptive tactics car insurance companies may use to either deny your claim or reduce your settlement amount.
If you’re looking for trusted legal help, you can find it at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys. Our nationwide network of personal injury attorneys serve clients in Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington, and beyond. To get connected with our team and schedule your free, no obligation consultation, call us 24/7 at 844-977-1900. Operators are also standing by to answer your questions via LiveChat. You can even request your complimentary case review right now, simply by filling out this form.