Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage in Florida—What You Need to Know

Car accidents frequently leave their victims with injuries costing tens of thousands of dollars—if not more. Unfortunately, your personal injury protection (PIP) benefits probably won’t begin to cover your actual economic losses after an accident, especially once you factor in lost wages. Fortunately, injured motorists might be able to turn to bodily injury liability coverage, which many people have never heard about. Read on for more information about this important type of car insurance.

Bodily Injury Liability Covers Injuries to Other People

Because of Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, injured drivers tap their PIP benefits first. However, these benefits might not be sufficient to fully compensate someone for their economic losses. In that situation, they can look to the other driver’s bodily injury liability coverage to cover their expenses. This type of insurance coverage does not cover your own injuries, only injuries to someone else.

One benefit of bodily injury liability insurance is that it can reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit. If your coverage is ample, the other driver might be willing to settle instead of going through the expense of bringing a lawsuit and trying to seize your assets, such as your car or other property.

Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Qualifies You for Additional Coverage

Technically, you cannot rely on your own bodily injury liability insurance to cover your own injuries. However, by getting bodily injury liability insurance, you also qualify to buy your own Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM), which will protect you and your family if you are injured through the negligence of the other driver. For this reason, you should go ahead and buy bodily injury insurance along with UM insurance to provide extra protection for you and your family.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Is Typically Optional

Anyone who registers a vehicle in Florida must have at least $10,000 in PIP benefits. However, bodily injury insurance is usually optional for most drivers, unless you have been convicted of a DUI. In that case, the amount of bodily injury coverage required depends on when you were convicted:

  • If you were convicted on or before October 1, 2007, you must carry $10,000 per person and a total of $20,000 per accident.
  • If you were convicted of DUI after October 1, 2007, you must carry at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.

Those convicted of DUI must carry bodily injury liability insurance for at least three years after they get their driving privileges back. As mentioned above, however, it is a great idea to buy bodily injury liability and UM coverage anyway.

Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Might Provide You with an Attorney

In the event you are sued, your insurance might cover the costs of hiring a personal injury lawyer to defend you. This provides a terrific benefit, especially since the cost of competent legal representation has risen in recent years. Furthermore, defense attorneys do not typically work on contingency fee arrangements, so you would need to pay all of their hourly attorney’s fees monthly if your insurance does not provide the costs of an attorney.

Having a qualified attorney in your corner can make the difference between winning your case and losing it, or between settling for a decent amount and being taken to the cleaners. Your lawyer can help build a defense by doing the following:

  • Investigating the scene of the accident
  • Inspecting the vehicles involved in the accident
  • Studying the police report
  • Interviewing witnesses who saw the collision
  • Tracking down any surveillance video that might have captured the accident
  • Working with accident reconstruction experts, if necessary, to better understand how the accident occurred 
Thorough case evaluation and evidence collection can take a hundred hours or more, so getting your insurance to pay for this help is a terrific benefit offered by most bodily injury liability insurance.

You Should Buy Bodily Injury Liability Coverage from a Reputable Agent

Be careful when buying your automobile insurance. Choose a reputable agent. Unfortunately, there are many scammers out there, so you want to thoroughly investigate any insurance agent before you buy from them.

You Can’t Bring Your Bodily Insurance Coverage With You from a Different State

You might have moved to Florida from another state and think you can use the same insurance coverage that you had in your old home state. Actually, Florida requires that you buy your insurance from a Florida agent, who works for a company licensed to sell in Florida. Most of the large insurance companies have agents in Florida and should be qualified to sell to you, but always double check.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Travels With the Car

Let’s say you buy bodily injury insurance for your car, but then let your child drive your car. They then get into an accident. Does your bodily insurance liability coverage apply?

Yes. The insurance is not personal to you, the purchaser; but instead applies to anyone who lives with you, such as your children. Depending on the policy, the insurance might also cover anyone who had your permission to drive your vehicle. This could be your neighbor, an adult relative, or someone else.

Likewise, if you are injured by a negligent driver, the car owner’s bodily injury liability coverage should apply, even if someone else was driving the car when it struck you.

Consult With a Clearwater, Florida Injury Attorney after an Accident

Injured motorists often feel overwhelmed with paperwork and worries about the future. Instead of struggling alone, you should reach out to an experienced automobile accident attorney in Clearwater for help navigating the state’s insurance requirements.

At Dolman Law Group, we offer a free consultation so that injured motorists can explain their situation and get preliminary advice. Depending on the circumstances, you might need to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company or bring a lawsuit for financial compensation. Our lawyers can assist you every step of the way. Start the process by calling 727-451-6900 or sending us a message online.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765

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