Bodily Injury (BI) insurance sold in Florida covers the insured for damages caused by his or her negligence up to the policy limits. The minimum coverage limit is $10,000, but can be in the millions. Inexplicably, BI insurance is not mandatory in Florida. Only PIP and Property Damage Liability are mandatory.
While the difference between $10,000 and, say, $1,000,000 in BI coverage is significant, the insurance company has a duty to defend the insured equally regardless of the limit. This is another benefit of maintaining bodily injury insurance.
What “duty to defend” means is that if the insured who has BI insurance is sued for damages caused by his or her negligence, the insurance company will hire a lawyer, at its expense, to defend the insured in the case. While the insured is the defense attorney’s client, the insurance company and its defense attorney control whether or not the case is settled. For example, the insured, feeling empowered by having an all expenses paid defense attorney, may wish to fight the case to the bitter end, but the carrier, with the advice of counsel, gets to make the final decision. Not only does the carrier have the final say, but the insured has a duty to cooperate with the carrier in its defense of the case. Failure to cooperate could cause the insured to lose the coverage.
We strongly recommend to our clients that they maintain bodily injury insurance. While it costs more than the basic PIP/PD Liability policy, the benefits make up for the added expense. Besides the moral aspect of being a responsible citizen, having BI gets the insured a defense attorney and keeps his or her license from being suspended if their negligence results in personal injuries (read this blog: Maintain Motor Vehicle Bodily Injury (BI) Insurance Coverage to Avoid Suspension of Florida Drivers License).
Contact us toll free at 866-785-GALE or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free, confidential consultation to learn your legal rights.
Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.
While prompt resolution of your legal matter is our goal, our approach is fundamentally different. Our clients are “people” and not “cases” or “files.” We take the time to build a relationship with our clients, realizing that only through meaningful interaction can we best serve their needs. In this manner, we have been able to best help those requiring legal representation.