When it comes to car accidents, you might be thinking in terms of personal injury liability. However, discussing the significance of bodily injury liability and related insurance coverage is also an important element of the overall equation.
When the driver of a vehicle is determined to be at fault for an accident, they are found liable for any injuries or deaths caused by their actions. Most states make it compulsory for drivers to carry bodily injury coverage with a mandatory coverage minimum that varies from state to state.
Up to the policy limits, bodily injury coverage will pay for medical expenses, lost income, funeral costs, and any long-lasting emotional trauma caused by an at-fault driver.
This type of coverage doesn’t pay for your medical bills. It covers the costs of any other people involved in an accident that you caused, including other drivers, non-household passengers in your car, passengers in other vehicles, and pedestrians. Bodily injury coverage can cover your legal fees if any injured party pursues legal action.
Even though minimum coverage varies from state to state, bodily injury liability insurance will cover you if an accident occurs out-of-state. Coverage also extends to all United States territories and even into Canada.
It’s important to note that this type of insurance only covers injury-related expenses caused by an at-fault driver. It doesn’t cover repair bills for any vehicle, property damage, or a policyholder’s lost income.
If you’re wondering, “What is bodily injury coverage?” then you may be confusing it with personal injury protection car insurance.
Personal injury insurance focuses on the policyholder and includes a much broader scope than physical and mental injury. It’s often used in no-fault states, which do not assign fault in the event of a minor car accident. When you hold a personal injury policy, it can be used to cover your medical expenses, lost income, rental vehicles, and property damage.
Because the differences in bodily injury coverage and personal injury coverage vary from state to state, it’s important to talk to an experienced injury attorney who can break down the differences and explain your coverage to you.
The most significant difference in bodily injury coverage involves the per-person and per-accident coverage limits:
Most states have minimum limits that all drivers must carry. Some states allow drivers to opt-out or carry nominal coverage, provided they meet specific requirements. That being said, carrying more coverage than the minimum required by law is a good idea. A general rule of thumb is to carry enough to cover your net worth.
Bodily injury liability insurance covers costs up to the policy limit. After that, you are responsible for paying the remaining costs. This could mean liquidating personal assets like a house, vehicles, retirement accounts, and any investments. It also could result in the garnishing of wages and personal income. Drivers that opt for low-premium plans with relatively low limits are putting themselves at significant financial risk.
In no-fault states, there might be an assumption of lower risk; that personal injury insurance will cover all of another driver’s medical expenses. However, there still is a significant risk if the other driver carries limited medical coverage and you are found to be at fault in a major accident. In this situation, you could be held responsible for paying hundreds or thousands or millions of dollars in medical bills and pain and suffering.
When you have been in a car accident, whether or not you are at fault, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. A car accident lawyer can help you document any injuries you’ve sustained and quickly determine whether or not you should seek compensation.
An attorney can also help you avoid making critical errors. Even though you may feel compelled to do so, you should never take responsibility or apologize. You should also avoid posting about the accident on social media. When providing interviews or written statements, your attorney can advise you and help you avoid missteps.
Do not wait until medical bills start rolling in or you start missing work. Many states place time restrictions on the ability to pursue legal action after an accident. A car accident lawyer can help you make decisions before any legal deadlines have passed.
As you concentrate on your recovery, an attorney can focus on your legal concerns and possibly keep you from spending any money on medical expenses or other costs. Your attorney will be able to determine the degree of fault, if any. They can also review police reports, talk to witnesses, and collect testimonials. After handling any legal legwork, your attorney can assess your claim and determine potential compensation. They can then pursue compensation by negotiating with an at-fault party and their insurer.
Nix Patterson’s team of personal injury attorneys have years of experience handling car accident cases. In fact, it is one of our primary practice areas. As such, we can help you understand how bodily injury and personal injury coverages are relevant to your case.
Call us today at 512-328-5333 to speak to an experienced lawyer who will review your case and discuss any concerns you have related to medical expenses and insurance coverage. Your case consultation is free. Get started by contacting us now.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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