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Insurance: Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

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Jeff Sevey

It’s important to have the proper auto insurance, especially in the unfortunate event of a car accident. Bodily injury liability insurance is a type of insurance that’s legally required in order to drive in California. If you are at fault for causing a car accident that injures or kills another person, your bodily injury liability coverage is what will help pay for the injured party’s medical expenses, lost income, or burial expenses. This coverage will also help you to pay the legal fees involved if you are sued because of the accident you caused.

Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Coverages

You pay for bodily injury liability coverage so that if you cause an accident that injures another driver, an unrelated passenger within your vehicle, or a pedestrian, they will be able to receive compensation for their damages. Bodily injury liability insurance will help cover the following costs for the injured parties:

  • Medical expenses, including, but not limited to:
    • emergency room services, emergency transport, hospital care, follow up doctor visits, physical therapy visits, and medical accessories such as crutches or a wheelchair.
    • Long-term care, if the injuries have disabled the victim so that they can no longer take care of themselves completely.
  • Pain and suffering due to the physical and emotional stress of the accident and injuries, the value of which is determined by the court.
  • Lost income in the event that the victim or victims of the accident had to take time off of work to heal from their injuries and receive medical treatments.
  • Legal fees due to being sued by either the victim(s) or their insurance company. You may have to pay their legal fees as well as your own, and bodily injury liability coverage can help offset these fees.
  • Funeral costs, if the accident caused a fatality.

It’s important to note that when you have caused an accident, bodily injury liability coverage will not pay for any of your medical expenses or lost income. It may help cover your legal fees if you are sued.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Limits

Your bodily injury liability coverage limit is the maximum dollar amount your auto insurance policy will pay out for a covered claim. State laws dictate minimum coverages that drivers must carry in order to legally drive a car. You must always reach this minimum of coverage, but you also have the option to increase your limits by purchasing additional coverage.

In California, your bodily injury liability coverage minimum per person is $15,000 and the minimum per accident is $30,000. This is the lowest amount of coverage one can buy and still be considered a legal driver.

The per-person limit of your insurance policy applies to each person that was injured in an accident. Therefore, if only one person was injured in the accident that you caused, and your per-person limit is $30,000, your insurance will cover up to $30,000 worth of damages for that person.

If more than one person was injured in the accident, your bodily injury liability coverage would pay up to the per-accident limit for the total damages suffered by all injured parties combined. Note that each injured party is only eligible for damages in an amount up to the policy’s per-person limit.

If the accident caused severe injuries where the medical expenses required exceeds your policy coverage limits, you may have to pay the remainder of the balance of those expenses out of your own pocket. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to purchase insurance with the highest limits you can afford.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage vs. Property Damage Liability Coverage

Your auto insurance liability coverage has two facets - bodily injury liability and property damage liability. California requires that you carry both of these as part of your policy.

Property damage liability coverage will help cover costs for damage to another person's physical objects and belongings, such as a car, mailbox, porch, garage, etc. If you were to damage such things due to your own negligence, property damage liability coverage will help cover repair costs. Property damage liability coverage helps pay for damage you cause to another person's belongings. For example, if you hit someone else's car, mailbox or front porch with your car, property damage liability coverage may help pay to repair their property.Bodily injury liability coverage helps to cover costs for another person's expenses, such as physical therapy, doctor visits, and time off work if they are injured in a car accident that you caused.

Contact Us Today

If you need quality, experienced legal representation by a team of personal injury experts, you need to call The Sevey Law Firm. We have decades of personal injury experience and we’re here to answer your questions. Call us at (916) 788-7100, or through our contact page.

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