Auto insurance policies in NJ may or may not include coverage for Bodily Injury Liability (BIL). This insurance coverage kicks in if you caused an accident. It pays for the claims of people who were injured due to the crash. The importance of ensuring that your auto insurance policy affords adequate BIL coverage cannot be understated. If a person is injured as a result of an accident you caused, your BIL coverage limits determine the maximum amount that your auto insurance company will pay to injured party. Maintaining sufficient BIL coverage is therefore important toprotect you and your family from lawsuits or claims which the injuried parties may bring against you. If your policy does not provide BIL coverage (or your coverage limits are inadequate), you may be personally liable to compensate the injured parties. A single claim or lawsuit for which you are personally responsible can potentially be financially devastating.
How does bodily injury coverage work? What happens if you were the one who got injured and has to claim against the other driver? Here is a brief overview.
Is Bodily Injury Liability Required In NJ?
No, BIL coverage is not mandatory in New Jersey. It is different from Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which covers your own injuries in an accident and is required by NJ law.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage In NJ
New Jersey requires bodily injury liability coverage to be included in standard car insurance policies but not in basic policies. If you get a standard policy, the minimum BIL coverage is $15,000/$30,000, which means that it covers $15,000 per person injured or $30,000 for all persons per accident. The maximum coverage is $250,000/$500,000.
Meanwhile, a basic policy is not required to include BIL, but you have the option to additionally purchase a $10,000 per-accident coverage.
Depending on the policy’s terms, bodily injury liability may cover:
- Accident-related medical bills incurred by others
- Accident-related loss of income experienced by others
- Funeral costs if the accident was fatal
- Your own legal costs if you defend yourself in court.
Filing A Bodily Injury Claim
If you were the one who sustained injuries in the accident and wish to get compensation from the at-fault party, you will need to file a claim with their insurance company. Before doing so, prepare a comprehensive record of the crash and your resulting injuries. This might include:
- Photos of the accident scene
- Photos of your injuries
- Medical records
- Medical bills and receipts
- Receipts of other related expenses
- Proof of your lost wages.
You must also be ready to discuss the accident with a liability claim examiner. It is best that you have a lawyer at or on your side to help you avoid making detrimental statements or signing away your rights.
If The Other Driver Is Uninsured
It can be frustrating to seek bodily injury compensation only to find out that the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. In this situation, you should ideally be covered by your own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM). This coverage pays for your own bills in the event that the policy covering the at-fault party is either non-existent or inadequate to cover your medical expenses and/or pain and suffering. You will need to claim this benefit with your own insurance company. Your maximum UM/UIM benefits are determined by the amount of coverage purchased under you rpolicy.
Another option may be to sue the driver in court. However, if you have a basic insurance policy, you may find that your ability to sue is greatly restricted. Basic policies typically have a “Limitation on Lawsuit Threshold” which states that you can only bring a lawsuit if your injuries are serious enough. On the other hand, standard auto insurance has no threshold on whether or not you can sue the responsible party.
If you have a specific concern regarding bodily injury coverage or your accident injury, please don’t hesitate to consult with us at the Grossman Law Firm by calling (732) 625-9494. We are highly experienced in various accident insurance situations. Our goal is always to help the injured get the maximum compensation they need and deserve.