Understanding bodily injury liability
Bodily injury liability protects you when you're at fault, directly or indirectly, in an accident.
We’re a clumsy bunch. Unlike a herd of graceful gazelles, we humans have a way of hurting ourselves and each other in daily life. Despite our best intentions, accidents happen, making bodily injury liability coverage essential for any small business. But what does bodily injury liability cover?
General liability insurance and auto insurance both include bodily injury liability coverage, which helps you pay for the medical expenses associated with another person’s injuries.
This post will give you the knowledge you need about bodily injury liability, from what it is to how to get coverage, coverage limits, and what you should think about beyond the injury itself.
“Bodily injury” is a legal term that describes physical harm caused to a person’s body. If an accident or incident causes a third party pain, illness, or even death, that’s a bodily injury.
You can’t talk about bodily injury without talking about risk. Regardless of what your line of work is, there are always risks. While some humans are more sure-footed than others, there’s always a risk of workplace accidents.
In most cases, a bodily injury can be caused in one of two ways:
Whether you’re a contractor whose client trips over a tool you left on the ground, leading to a shoulder-breaking fall, or a customer cuts her hand on broken glass during an event you organized, accidents are almost impossible to prevent. Thankfully, bodily liability coverage offers you the safety net your business will need sooner or later.
In legal terms, a “liability” is a legal obligation between two parties around something that one party owes the other. Bodily injury liability coverage protects you from having to pay for the settlement of claims resulting from physical injury to a third party when you are found to be responsible for the accident that resulted in their injuries. Keep in mind that a “third party” is someone other than the Named Insured or anyone else covered by an insurance policy, and someone other than an employee (for that, you’ll need workers’ compensation.)
Let’s say an employee with a heavy foot crashes the forklift while unloading a delivery truck at your warehouse, causing a serious injury to the delivery driver who was standing nearby. Bodily injury liability insurance can help you cover the settlement of claims for such an accident.
Almost every general liability insurance policy includes bodily injury liability coverage in line with the definition from the Insurance Services Office (ISO). This type of coverage includes three primary categories: personal injury to the body, sickness, and disease.
When thinking about standard bodily injury coverage, here’s something you might not know: If you face a claim for bodily injury, there’s a lot more on the table than just the physical injury.
You must think about secondary issues an injury might cause, which could seriously impact the injured person’s life in the long term. From medical bills to time off work, a bodily injury claim can quickly escalate into a real problem if your business doesn’t have the right coverage.
Here are a few specific ways that bodily injury liability insurance can provide financial protection against claims made against your business, including:
This category is somewhat of a grey area. Whether bodily injury liability covers pain and suffering will vary, depending on the general liability insurance you get for your business.
Some policies apply a broader definition of bodily injury to include subcategories of bodily injury that were caused by the injury, sickness, or disease, such as:
Note that the insurance will only provide coverage for these psychological injuries if they’re a direct result of a physical injury sustained in the initial incident.
Imagine a potential client visits your shop, and they suffer a severe injury. Should this injury hamper their ability to live life normally, they can experience psychological hardship. The third party may be able to claim damages for lingering emotional distress or any long-term implications resulting from the injury.
With general liability insurance via Thimble, third-party claims of bodily injury can be awarded up to $1 million or $2 million.
However, when you hear the phrase “bodily injury liability limits,” it generally refers to auto insurance. Although Thimble does not offer auto insurance, it may be helpful to know that most auto liability insurance packages come in two forms:
Some states require stated minimum limits of bodily injury liability to be maintained by general liability policyholders. Florida, for example, does not stipulate any minimum bodily injury liability limits whereas Alaska requires a minimum bodily injury liability limit of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.1,2
All it takes is one serious bodily injury claim to hurt your business, so it makes no sense to ride your luck without a general liability insurance policy. Even if you take every precaution possible, accidents that result in injuries to clients or another third party could happen at any time.
So, how do you make sure that you’re covered?
Meet Thimble, the insurance provider made to move with all the twists and turns a small business faces. We provide affordable general liability insurance policies that work when you do.
We make general liability insurance so simple that you can get your new policy in less than 60 seconds. Just download the Thimble mobile app, input a few details about your business, and get an instant quote. With coverage from Thimble, you can worry less about accidents, and focus more on growing your business.
Written on March 31, 2020 | Modified on: August 27, 2021
Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.