What is Bodily Injury Liability?

None of us plan to be in a car accident. Yet, it seems inevitable with 2.8 million people and more than 2.5 million registered vehicles on the roadways in Las Vegas. Thankfully, mandatory auto insurance helps protect all motorists. It’s a necessary measure that can help safeguard residents from the risks of driving. But what if you cause an accident and the other party gets hurt? Read below as our team at De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, looks at how bodily injury liability insurance can protect you after a collision.

Bodily Injury Liability

Bodily Injury Liability

If you’re responsible for a car accident, you may not know what to do or how your insurance can help. Bodily injury insurance protects the other people involved in the accident. It pays for their medical costs — up to your coverage limits. It protects at-fault drivers from claims of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, whether the injury was a simple cut, bruise, or something more serious, such as fractured bones or limb loss.

Bodily injury liability insurance will also help cover your legal defense fees if the other party sues for damages, again up to your limits. However, it won’t pay for costs to repair damaged property, such as a new bumper, or your hospital bills. If you incur any medical bills after the accident, your private insurance, such as an employer-sponsored plan, may help pay for your medical care.

How Much Bodily Injury Liability Do You Need?

Nevada residents that drive on public roads must carry the following minimum bodily injury coverage limits:

  • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person.
  • $50,000 per accident maximum for all injured parties.
  • $20,000 for property damage others sustain.

While these limits seem high, the reality of exceeding them is quite real. Each collision results in financial burdens for the injured and the at-fault driver, as both parties have some personal risk. If you break down the costs of an accident, including medical care and beyond, the average price nationwide in 2021 was $22,734 per person. That number can climb quickly if a death or serious medical complication occurs following your accident. Don’t forget that medical service costs are rising, so potential damage claims will follow that trend. Of course, the final settlement amount depends on the following:

  • The extent of injuries sustained.
  • The victim’s property losses.
  • The responsible party’s insurance policy.
  • Applicable state laws.
  • Any other eligible damages.

What Happens If You Don’t Have Enough Bodily Injury Liability Coverage?

Nevada has strict liability limits you as a driver must meet, and you can face suspensions and penalties if you’re not compliant. Unfortunately, these mandates aren’t enough to cover the other party’s damages in many cases. So if their losses from an accident exceed these limits, the at-fault driver is personally responsible for paying the balance.

For example, let’s say you run a red light and strike another motorist, and they suffer a broken leg and miss six months of work. Their compensatory damages total $50,000. However, you only have the state-required minimum coverage of $25,000. Consequently, the injured party can sue you for the remaining $25,000.

Imagine if more than one person gets injured in the collision, and you don’t have enough auto insurance coverage. Your $50,000 of protection will be divided proportionately based on the parties’ damages, which won’t last long. However, even if you’re only partially to blame for a car accident, Nevada law allows victims to recover damages if they were less than 50% at fault. So we recommend purchasing the highest policy limits you can reasonably afford, particularly if you want to protect assets from a lawsuit.

What Does Bodily Injury Liability Cover?

Bodily injury insurance covers all damages related to an accident-sustained injury, above and beyond hospital bills. Recoverable damages include the following:

  • Ambulance charges.
  • Emergency room services.
  • Primary care physician expenses.
  • Chiropractic services.
  • Physical or occupational therapy.
  • X-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic tests.
  • Surgery.
  • Medications.
  • Medical equipment, such as a wheelchair.
  • Short- or long-term nursing care.
  • Loss of income or wages.
  • Lower future earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Non-economic damage, such as loss of limb.
  • Funeral expenses.

How Are Bodily Injury Settlements Calculated?

There were 20,324 collisions in Nevada in 2021, and in many instances, a bodily injury settlement was awarded. Attorneys consider various factors to determine this amount, from the cost of medical bills and lost wages to pain and suffering. While some expenses are fixed and quantitative, others are more ambiguous. The goal is to help make the injured party “whole” again by compensating them for their losses. However, assigning a dollar amount to loss is tricky, and your lawyer will still have to convince an insurance company or judge that you’re entitled to damages.

Insurance companies use internal policies and procedures to calculate how much they’re willing to pay. You can leave it up to the courts to determine the monetary value of your damages. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer can negotiate for you and help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

How Much Is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance?

The price tag on your bodily injury liability insurance policy depends on several factors, including where you live, your age, how much coverage you want to purchase, and your driving record. Of course, the more protection you add, the higher your monthly premium will be. If you’ve had an accident in the last three years, you’ll also pay more than a driver with a clean motor vehicle history.

According to Bank Rate, the average cost for an auto insurance policy in Nevada is between $860 and $2,246 per year. Those figures are higher than the national average, which runs from $565 to $1,674 annually. However, you can often lower your costs by prepaying your premium, committing to a 12-month term, or earning discounts from your insurance carrier.

Injuries from a car accident can be devastating emotionally, physically, and financially. So if you or someone you know has been in a collision in Nevada, contact our law firm for help. We’re experts in navigating the confusing world of bodily injury liability, so you can rest easy and recover from your accident knowing we’re on your side.

Photo Credit: Another Saturday on the I80 by Jose C Silva is licensed with CC BY 2.0