Personal Liability vs. Personal Injury

By Peter DePaolis

Personal injury and personal liability are two distinct concepts when it comes to homeowner insurance policies and legal claims.

Personal injury covers the victim’s losses, while personal liability insurance protects you when sued. The key difference is that personal injury is the harm suffered, while personal liability is your duty to pay for damages caused to someone else.

Personal injury refers to the physical or mental harm suffered by an individual, such as a broken arm from slipping and falling. Personal liability refers to your legal responsibility to pay compensation for injuries or damages caused by your negligence or wrongful acts.

Key Differences Between Personal Injury & Personal Liability Coverage

  • Personal injury refers to physical or mental harm suffered by an individual (e.g. a broken arm from a slip and fall).
  • Personal liability refers to your legal responsibility to pay for injuries/damages caused by your negligence or wrongful acts.
  • Personal injury insurance covers the victim’s losses from an injury.
  • Personal liability insurance protects you when sued for damages you caused someone else.

Do I Need Personal Liability Insurance as a Homeowner? 

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.

Understanding Personal Liability Insurance

Personal liability insurance covers damages if you negligently cause injury to others. For instance, if your dog bites someone, your liability coverage pays their medical bills. Personal injury insurance covers injuries suffered by others on your property even if you were not negligent. Understanding the difference between these two coverages is crucial when submitting claims under a homeowners policy.

Understanding Personal Injury Insurance

Personal injury insurance covers losses besides bodily injury and property damage. It pays for non-monetary losses after things like false imprisonment, wrongful eviction, defamation, invasion of privacy, or civil rights violations. If you face a claim for mental or psychological harm, your personal injury insurance may pay the victim’s related costs. For example, if your child cyberbullies someone and the victim has mental anguish, your personal injury insurance could pay for the victim’s therapy.

Does My Insurance Include Personal Injury Coverage?

Homeowners insurance policies usually don’t automatically include personal injury coverage. If you want to buy personal injury coverage from your homeowners insurer, you’ll typically pay an extra $15 to $20 per year. Getting personal injury insurance could protect your assets if someone sues you for psychological harm. Personal liability insurance, on the other hand, will protect you against claims for bodily injury or property damage.

Which Type of Insurance Is Right for You?

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 questions on whether you may be found liable for a slip and fall accident, contact our personal injury attorneys to schedule a free consultation.

Liability Insurance Pros & Cons

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.

Injury Insurance Pros & Cons

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.

Our personal injury attorneys serve Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.

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.