Personal Liability vs. Personal Injury

By Peter DePaolis

A property-related injury claim in Fairfax, VA will involve complex questions of homeowner liability. Liability refers to a homeowner’s legal responsibility for an accident. Personal liability is not the same as personal injury in Fairfax, when it comes to homeowners insurance policies. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to carry adequate insurance to cover victims’ damages after an at-fault accident. Breaking down the confusing differences between personal liability and personal injury insurance could help you understand your case.

Personal Liability vs. Personal Injury Insurance

Comparing personal liability with personal injury is often required when discussing types of homeowners insurance. Personal liability insurance covers other people’s damages when you cause an accident on your property. As the at-fault party for an accident, your personal liability insurance would pay for victims’ medical bills and/or property damage repairs. If your dog attacks someone, for example, your personal liability insurance would most likely cover the victim’s bodily injury expenses or property damage repairs.

Personal injury insurance, on the other hand, would pay for losses other than bodily injury and property damage. Personal injury insurance pays for noneconomic losses after something such as false imprisonment, wrongful eviction, defamation, invasion of privacy or civil rights violations. If you are involved in a claim based on mental or psychological damage, your personal injury insurance may end up paying for the victim’s related damages. For example, if your child bullies someone online and the victim suffers mental harm, your personal injury insurance may pay for the costs of the victim’s therapy.

Most homeowners insurance policies do not automatically come with personal injury coverage. This is an optional type of coverage the company must endorse. If you wish to purchase personal injury coverage through your homeowners insurance provider, you will need to pay $15 to $20 extra per year for the endorsement, on average. Buying personal injury insurance could protect your assets if someone else files a lawsuit against you for psychological damages. Meanwhile, personal liability insurance will protect you against claims for physical damages.

Which Type of Insurance Is Right for You?

A personal liability claim against you could force you or your insurance provider to pay for someone’s expensive medical bills, lost wages, legal fees and more if you contributed to that person’s injuries. If you ignored property defects, for example, and someone fell on your property, your insurance company could owe thousands of dollars to the victim in injury-related costs. It is important to carry personal liability coverage as part of your homeowners insurance plan – especially if you regularly welcome guests and visitors to your property. You will not face as much personal exposure for an accident on your property with liability insurance.

Personal injury insurance is not as common as personal liability insurance in Maryland. This optional type of coverage could be worthwhile, however, if you fear absorbing the costs of someone’s physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish or psychological damages after an accident on your property. Maryland law caps noneconomic damages at $860,000. This limit increases to $1,290,500 if two or more people die on your property. Most homeowners cannot afford to pay a maximum pain and suffering recovery award in Maryland. Purchasing personal injury insurance could prevent absorbing full liability for these damages.

Having the right insurance to protect yourself as a homeowner can bring you significant peace of mind. You can host parties, invite people to swim in your pool and welcome guests onto your property with far less fear of what might happen if someone suffers an injury. Personal liability and personal injury homeowners insurance coverage could prevent you from paying for physical and nonphysical losses out of pocket. Purchasing both types of insurance may increase your monthly or yearly insurance premiums, but it will ultimately save you money if an accident occurs on your property. If you have question on whether you may be found liable for a slip and fall accident, contact our personal injury attorneys to schedule a free consultation.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.