Florida Bodily Injury Insurance Lawyer
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance is insurance that protects the other driver or passengers in the opposing car if you are at fault in an accident and cause serious harm or injuries. Bodily Injury Insurance is designed to cover the damages for the other people injured in the accident. This type of insurance is only used when you are the person at fault for the accident. It also only comes into effect when at least one person in the other vehicle sustains injuries.
Bodily Injury Insurance is one kind of liability auto insurance. The other is property damage liability insurance. While Bodily Injury Insurance gives you coverage for injuries that are caused to the people involved in the accident, Property Damage Liability Insurance gives you coverage for damage that is caused to the other driver’s car.Is Bodily Injury Insurance Required in Florida?
In the state of Florida, Bodily Injury Insurance is not legally required for the majority of drivers. While it is not legally required, it is still highly recommended to have. It is required, however, for drivers who have been convicted of a DUI within 3 or more years.
If you were convicted of a DUI on or before October 1st, 2007, the minimum requirement of Bodily Injury Insurance coverage that is required for you is $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. If you were convicted of a DUI after October 1st, 2007, the minimum coverage that is required is $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. According to the law, you must have Bodily Injury Insurance for at least three years after the return of your driving privileges.
While Bodily Injury Insurance is not required by law for drivers who have not been convicted of a DUI, there is another law that you should keep in mind that may convince you to purchase a BI insurance plan. This is the Florida Financial Responsibility Law. This law states that if you are at fault for a car accident, you are required to provide financial coverage of at least $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. This means that if you are at fault for a car accident and cause a person or persons physical harm, you must be able to post a bond for the required amount of coverage. If you are not able to live up to this responsibility required by law, then it will most likely result in the loss of your driving privileges until you can make arrangements to pay for the damages in full.
If you have Bodily Injury Insurance, it gives you the peace of mind that you are able to abide by the Florida Financial Responsibility Law in the event that you injure someone in an accident. The standard Bodily Injury Insurance coverage is equal to, or even greater than, the amount required by the Florida Financial Responsibility Law. While Bodily Injury Insurance is not generally required, it is a smart coverage to have and will be worth it when you find yourself in the situation described above. If you speak to a car accident lawyer, he or she will most likely tell you that they highly recommend purchasing Bodily Injury Insurance as part of your insurance coverage plan.
Another option that you may want to partake in is to announce your ability to “self-insure.” This means that even though you do not have a Bodily Injury Insurance coverage plan, you have the financial ability to pay for any expenses that arise from a car accident. In order to legally claim that you are able to self-insure, you may have to post a bond or deposit a large amount of money with the state. This is the proof that you are able to financially take care of any bills that arise because of a car accident injury caused by you.How Much Bodily Injury Insurance Should You Buy?
If you are interested in adding Bodily Injury Insurance to your insurance coverage plan, you will need to know how much coverage to purchase. According to the Insurance Research Council, the average bodily injury claim in 2012 was about $14,600. While this is the average cost, and seems relatively reasonable, your costs could exponentially increase if you are at fault for an accident that causes several injuries or even fatalities for multiple different people. If the expenses for these injuries exceed your maximum coverage, those who are injured will be able to come after you to pay for the remainder of their bills. This will need to be paid out of pocket by you, and could put your personal assets at risk.
With this being said, the professional advice of those with experience in insurance is to purchase the highest amount of coverage you could afford. This will give you the opportunity to protect your savings and your assets. It will also give you the peace of mind that your insurance will take care of any expenses that arise because of car accident injuries you cause. At the very minimum, it is recommended to follow your state’s required minimum coverage. While Florida does not have a required minimum amount of coverage, it is relatively similar from state to state. Most states recommend a minimum coverage amount of $20-$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.How Much Does Bodily Injury Insurance Cost
When considering how much Bodily Injury Insurance to purchase, it is also necessary to understand how much a policy will cost. While policy costs vary greatly from state to state and from company to company, there are averages available to compare. The numbers used below are averages available from the state of Virginia.
Your driving history has a great influence over the cost of your insurance policy. If you are a driver with clean driving history, the minimum amount of coverage added to your insurance policy is $16 a year. For much greater coverage, the insurance policy cost is an additional $154 a year. If you have a recent speeding ticket on your driving record, the minimum policy coverage increases to an extra $20 a year. For a policy with much greater coverage, this increases to an extra $176 a year with a recent speeding ticket. If you have a recent car accident on your driver’s history, prices increase even more. With a recent accident, the minimum amount of coverage increases to an additional $24 a year, while a policy with much greater coverage increases to an extra $240 a year.
It is important to keep in mind that these policies vary greatly in the amount of coverage that they offer. The minimum coverage amount referred to above is from $25-$50,000 per person and $50-$100,000 per accident. The greater insurance coverage amount referred to above is from $25-$50,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. There are many other policy options offered in-between these two, and prices will vary for those as well. Use this information as reference only, as the prices and policy ranges will likely vary in your state and with your driving history.What does Bodily Injury Insurance Cover?
Bodily Injury Insurance will generally cover a percentage of the costs related to any injuries caused by the car accident. Injuries caused by an accident can have short term costs, like hospital bills or diagnostic testing. They can also have long term costs, like physical therapy, rehabilitation, or prescription medicine. If you are the cause of an accident that results in injuries, it is your legal responsibility to provide financial coverage for any medical bills, short or long term, that ensue.
Your coverage from Bodily Injury Insurance will go towards the driver of the other vehicle, any passengers they had in their car, and any pedestrians or bystanders who may have been injured as well. The more people that are injured because of your car accident, the more your policy coverage needs to be split between different people’s medical bills.
Below are some examples of coverage for Bodily Injury Insurance:
- Medical Expenses: Bodily Injury Insurance covers any type of medical care that is necessary because of a person’s injuries sustained in the accident. If the injuries are serious and require hospitalization, Bodily Injury Insurance will cover any hospital bills for emergency care and hospital stay. This insurance may also cover follow up visits that are required and costs of equipment that is medically necessary.
- Legal Fees: Bodily Injury Insurance typically covers legal fees for you, the buyer. If the injured person hires a lawyer to sue you and file a lawsuit against you, you will need to hire a lawyer to represent yourself. In this case, your Bodily Injury Insurance will cover some of the cost of a lawyer and any legal defense fees. It can also help to defray a large amount of court costs.
- Loss of Income: In the event that the injured person’s injuries are so serious that they are not able to work for a period of time, your Bodily Injury Insurance will most likely cover for their lost wages. If someone is injured badly enough, it could interfere with their ability to work for a short or long period of time. If they have a job that has a lot of physical requirements, this time period could be quite long. Sometimes, an injured person requires a lot of therapy to regain their full abilities. This could also interfere with their work schedule, causing them to lose wages.
- Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering is one of the most difficult claims to prove when it comes to car accidents. In order for an injured person to claim they need compensation for pain and suffering, their injuries must be quite severe and life-altering. For example, someone who becomes paralyzed due to a car accident has a strong case for pain and suffering compensation because their quality of life was altered drastically. In this case, pain and suffering compensation will most likely be awarded to the injured party. If you have Bodily Injury Insurance, it will help to cover some of the cost from this claim.
- Funeral Costs: Funeral costs can be claimed by a person’s family if he or she was killed in the car accident. Bodily Injury Insurance will cover a large amount of funeral and/or burial costs in the event of a fatality.
The list above is not a list of all coverages in their entirety, but it gives you a good idea of what types of coverage you can expect to have with Bodily Injury Insurance. If you are interested in learning about Bodily Injury Insurance in more detail, you can speak with a personal injury lawyer that has experience dealing with Bodily Injury Insurance cases. The lawyers at Frankl & Kominsky have a great deal of experience with Bodily Injury Insurance lawsuits, and will work hard to make sure you do not have to pay out of pocket.How Does Bodily Injury Insurance Work?
Basically, there are two main types of liability insurance packages. You will have the choice between a combined single limit policy and a split limit policy.
With a combined single limit policy, your insurance will basically offer a certain amount of coverage and you make the decision on how to divide that available coverage between bodily injury insurance and property damage liability insurance.
If you choose to purchase a split limit policy, there will be two different numbers involved. The first number that you will see is the limit per person. This is the maximum amount that your insurance provider will pay for medical bills for a single person that is involved in the car accident. The second number on your policy will be for the limit per accident. This represents the maximum amount of compensation the insurance company will provide to cover for all people involved in the entire accident.Top 4 Reasons to have Bodily Injury Insurance
While Bodily Injury Insurance is not a requirement for most drivers in the state of Florida, it is still a great idea to have. Below are four of the main reasons that you should have Bodily Injury Insurance if you are a driver in the state of Florida.
- The first reason is that Bodily Injury Insurance will protect your personal non-homestead assets. Non-homestead assets are residences that are owned by an individual but are not the regular residence. Examples of non-homestead assets would be beach houses or cabins that are used for vacationing. Non-homestead assets are typically the first things to be sold for financial settlements. If you have Bodily Injury Insurance, it will prevent you from having to sell off your assets for money to pay for medical bills.
- Bodily Injury Insurance coverage will pay for your legal fees and any costs incurred if the driver in the other vehicle sues you for compensation. If you are in a car accident and you end up getting sued because of your negligence, you will need legal representation. A lawyer’s time is expensive, as are legal fees. Bodily Injury Insurance can help to defray the costs associated with hiring a lawyer and going to court.
- Bodily Injury Insurance is necessary for those who need to purchase under-insured or uninsured motorist coverage. If you find yourself in a car accident, and the person at fault does not have car insurance or has coverage that is less than what you should be paid, Bodily Injury Insurance can help.
- Bodily Injury Insurance is relatively inexpensive. For all the great things that Bodily Injury Insurance can do for you, it is quite inexpensive to add to your insurance coverage plan. While policies range greatly, and vary from person to person, some policies go as low as $16 additional per year if you have a clean driving history.
The above reasons speak for themselves. It may not be a required insurance coverage in the state of Florida, but it is highly recommended as something that should be added to your plan.Hiring the Right Personal Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident
When it comes time to hire a personal injury lawyer after a car accident, it is important that you hire someone that is right for you, and for the situation. When you are choosing what law firm to hire after a car accident that you are at fault for, make sure they are well-versed in Bodily Injury Insurance.
The accident lawyers at Frankl & Kominsky are experienced in Bodily Injury Insurance and can help you with your case if you are in a car accident and are the one at fault. They will guide you through what your insurance will cover in your situation If you are in a car accident in Florida and are the one at fault, call 855-800-8000 for a free consultation and case evaluation.