Bodily Injury Liability Insurance
Choosing the right amount of coverage can be complicated. Although Nevada has minimum requirements, the fact is that many people would benefit from purchasing more bodily injury liability insurance. Below, we’ll look closely at the mechanics of bodily injury liability insurance and what considerations go into determining how much to buy.
What Losses Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Covers
This type of insurance will typically cover losses associated with bodily injuries. Anyone injured in an accident can make a claim on this insurance provided they were not at fault for the crash. Typically, motorists and pedestrians make the most claims.
Bodily injury liability insurance will pay for the following:
- Medical care. This can include ambulance trips to the hospital, surgery, doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, and equipment, such as crutches or braces. As long as the medical care is being sought to treat an injury sustained in the accident, then it usually is covered by the policy so long as it is reasonable.
- Lost wages or self-employed income. Many accident victims are so badly hurt that they cannot immediately return to work. As a result, their income drops, and bodily injury liability insurance will step in to cover the loss of income.
- Pain and suffering. This is an elastic term which in Nevada covers the physical pain, suffering, anguish, and emotional distress experienced as a result of a bodily injury. It is harder to put a precise number on how much a victim’s pain and suffering is worth, but bodily injury liability insurance pays compensation to make up for it.
- Funeral costs. If a victim died in the accident, then this insurance can pay for costs associated with a funeral and burial.
If you are sued for an accident, your bodily injury insurance policy will probably also help pay for legal fees to mount a defense. It can also pick up court costs, like filing fees, which can be considerable. You should read the details of the policy to check whether court a legal defense is also included in your policy.
Nevada’s Minimum Coverage & How It Works
Nevada recently increased the minimum amount of bodily injury liability coverage that motorists must carry to 25/50/20. This means:
- Bodily injury liability coverage per person injured in an accident: $25,000
- Bodily injury liability coverage available for an entire accident with 2 or more injured: $50,000
- Property damage liability insurance per accident: $20,000
When only one person is injured in an accident, then it is easy to see how much will be covered. Imagine that Amanda hits Michael, who suffers $50,000 in losses. Amanda has the minimum insurance required by Nevada, so it will cover up to $25,000 of Michael’s losses. Amanda will be personally responsible for the other $25,000.
However, imagine that Amanda hit Cathy and Dan. Cathy suffered $20,000 in losses and Dan suffered $30,000. In this example, Amanda’s insurance will cover all of Cathy’s losses but will only cover a portion of Dan’s—up to $25,000. Amanda will be responsible for the other $5,000 that is not covered. Although Amanda’s insurance covers a maximum of $50,000 per accident, an injured victim can get at most $25,000.
Drivers who are at fault for an accident can be sued in court and a judgment entered against them. It is then their responsibility to pay the judgment, or else the injured victims might garnish wages, levy bank accounts, or force the sale of the property.
Remember, if Amanda suffered injuries in any of the above hypotheticals, she cannot use her bodily injury liability coverage since she is at fault.
How Much Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Should You Get?
The minimum is enough to be in good standing with the state and to be able to legally drive. However, it often makes sense for motorists to pick up extra bodily injury liability insurance. Although the average bodily injury liability claim was only around $14,6000 in 2012, the cost of medical care has only increased since then.
Also, some injuries are more expensive to treat than others. For example, a brain injury or spinal cord injury could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in necessary medical care. That means you could be personally sued and have a court judgment entered against you for sums above and beyond what your bodily injury liability insurance will pay.
To determine how much insurance to buy, consider the following:
- How many assets do you have? If you have a lot of cash in a bank account or investments, these are vulnerable in a lawsuit. You could lose them if you are at fault for an accident and someone sues you personally to get more compensation than is provided by your insurance.
- Are your assets exempt? Under the state’s constitution, a person’s homestead is exempt from forced sale, but a person must declare a homestead with the county recorder. Other assets, like investment properties, would not be exempt.
- How much will additional bodily injury liability insurance cost? You shouldn’t go into debt to buy insurance. The expense should fit comfortably in your budget.
If you have few assets to your name, then buying additional insurance might seem like a waste of money. We encourage all motorists to buy as much bodily injury liability insurance as they can afford so that they will have peace of mind in the event of an accident.
Do You Have a Question about a Las Vegas Car Crash?
Naqvi Injury Law has established itself as the premier law firm for car accidents and personal injury in and around Las Vegas. To meet with a member of our team for a free consultation, please contact us today.