Liability and Bodily Injury Liability

By Daisy Rogozinsky
March 27, 2022

If you are in a motor vehicle accident and file an insurance claim and/or a civil lawsuit, liability will be assigned to at least one of the involved parties. This determines who is held responsible for paying damages. One type of liability is bodily injury liability, which relates to physical harm. In this article, we’ll explain the role of liability and bodily injury liability in motor vehicle accidents.

Key Takeaways

  • Liability refers to legal responsibility 
  • If you are held liable for them, you can be required to pay damages for acts that encroach on other people’s rights
  • Liability insurance can help you pay for situations in which you are held liable for damages
  • Bodily injury liability is a type of liability insurance that covers physical harm to other human beings, such as that caused by a motor vehicle accident

What Is Liability?

In law, liability is a broad term that refers to any type of duty, obligation, debt, or responsibility. Liability can be determined by contracts, tort (harmful behavior), and/or statute (written law or regulation).

In most countries, individuals can be held legally liable for acts or failures to act that encroach on other people’s rights. In these cases, the liable individual is required to pay damages. It is possible (and in some instances required) to purchase liability insurance policies that help cover you in the case of being liable for damages. 

Types of injuries that a person may be held liable for include:

  • Slander - False statements that defame (harm the reputation of) another person
  • Assault - Physical attacks
  • Negligent acts - Failing to behave in a manner that a reasonable person would act in, resulting in loss to another person

What Is Bodily Injury Liability?

“Bodily injury” means physical harm to another human including injury, sickness, and disease. This is in contrast with personal injury, which is both physical and mental injury caused by somebody else’s negligence. In addition to bodily injury, this can include injuries such as slander, false arrest, and invasion of privacy.

Bodily injury liability is a type of liability insurance that pays for the other party’s bodily injury-related damages such as medical bills, loss of income, or funeral costs. This is in contrast to property damage liability, which covers repairs to the other party’s property. 

Liability in Motor Vehicle Accidents

If you are in a motor vehicle accident, the driver who was at fault for the accident is considered to be the liable party, or the party with liability. This means that they (via their insurance provider) are financially responsible for compensation for the other party’s damages including bodily injury. 

In order to be compensated for losses related to a motor vehicle accident, you are required to file an accident liability claim. This requires proving fault through statements, physical evidence, photographs and/or videos, and reports. 

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