Woman injured in car accident

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

This is the second of a series of blogs to explain automobile insurance coverage in a way that a consumer can make informed decisions for their needs.

We often hear potential clients say that they have “full coverage” when asked what kind of auto insurance they have. While it feels good to say this, it is really so vague that nobody really knows what it means.

If you are at-fault in a crash (either totally or partially), and cause personal injury or death to others, this coverage will pay damages you are legally liable to pay up to your policy limits. Some of the damages you may owe include medical bills and lost wages not paid by PIP coverage, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent scarring or disfigurement, loss of the enjoyment of life, mental anguish, inconvenience and loss of consortium.

While you do not need BI coverage to drive a vehicle legally in this state, the Florida Financial Responsibility Law requires a person to “respond in damages for liability” in the amount of $10,000 due to bodily injury or death to one person and $20,000 for two or more. In order to “respond”, you must either have BI coverage or post a bond for the 10/20 coverage required. If you do not, your driver’s license may be suspended. Like PDL coverage, there is no provision in the law that prevents a party whose suffered bodily injury or death from pursuing litigation and obtaining a judgement against you to collect anything over $10,000. Before getting your license reinstated, you will also have to make arrangements to satisfy any property damage/bodily injury judgement against you in order to get your license back.

If you have been convicted of a DUI involving bodily injury or death, the Florida Financial Responsibility Law also requires you to maintain BI coverage in the amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 for two or more (as well as $50,000 in PDL coverage) for a period of three years after your driving privileges have been reinstated. An alternative to this is for the driver to maintain a $350,000 certificate of deposit for the same three-year period.

Mark R. Myers, Investigator
LILLY & BROWN, LLP |800 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801