Commercial Liability Insurance: Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury

The inside of a store with a caution wet floor sign positioned next to a mop bucket.As a business owner, you likely don’t spend much time contemplating the legal difference between bodily injury and personal injury, but understanding these terms can help you better protect your business. Defining these technical terms can help you determine new safety policies and procedures and whether you require more in-depth liability coverage. Although commercial general liability insurance covers both bodily injury and personal injury claims, knowing the difference between the two helps you better prevent incidents and legal action.

What is Bodily Injury?

Bodily injury liability is exactly what it sounds like: coverage for injury to the body. It covers disfigurement, broken bones, cuts, sickness, disease, and even death resulting from any of the prior. It’s a component of your business’s general liability policy, and you’ll often have coverage up to your policy’s limit. A common claim that falls under bodily injury includes a customer getting hurt in your store or property, such as slipping on ice or wet tiles. For claims like this, your liability coverage will pay for the customer’s medical bills, lost wages, and any ensuing legal costs.

How Can You Protect Your Business from Bodily Injury Claims?

Preventing incidents of bodily injury on your premises is the best protection against legal action. To avoid bodily injury liability claims, here are a few proactive steps you can take:

  • Regularly clean and maintain your business’s equipment and tools.
  • Document all repairs and keep a record of inspections.
  • Regularly inspect your property for potential hazards.
  • Post warning signs for wet floors and other hazardous conditions.

Taking these extra steps to ensure the safety of customers on your premises can cut down on the risk of a bodily injury claim that could potentially increase your insurance premium.

What is Personal Injury?

In the case of commercial general liability insurance, personal injury has more to do with depriving a person of their liberties (i.e., stripping them of certain freedoms) or damaging their reputation. It can include a false arrest – such as a store detaining a potential shoplifter – slander and libel committed in advertising, and improper eviction committed by a landlord. For personal injury claims, your business’s liability policy will help fund a defense attorney and other legal costs.

How Can You Protect Your Business from Personal Injury Claims?

You should educate your employees on how to properly handle potential situations of personal injury. To avoid legal action against your business, train your employees on policies and procedures, such as:

  • Act quickly to fix errors or negligence that may impact a client’s reputation.
  • Avoid public declarations of negative statements or comments that you know not to be true.
  • Regularly monitor what people write on your website ad social media platforms and quickly moderate untrue or damaging statements.

Enacting these small measures can go a long way in avoiding legal repercussions and can even improve your relationship with customers.

While your commercial general liability coverage covers both bodily injury and personal injury claims, it’s still important to differentiate between the two. Understanding these basic differences helps you better prepare your business for incidents that may have dire financial repercussions. At TJ Woods Insurance, we can outfit you with the most comprehensive business insurance, from liability policies to worker compensation benefits for your employees. If you’re looking to cover your business from multiple angles, contact us today.