Is Pennsylvania a No-Fault State?
If you’re a driver in Pennsylvania, it is important that you understand how insurance factors into a victim’s ability to recover certain compensation following a car accident.
Pennsylvania allows drivers to choose between full tort and limited tort insurance. If you have limited tort coverage and are hurt in a crash, you might be unable to sue for non-economic damages, depending on your injuries. Motorcyclists are not impacted by no-fault laws in Pennsylvania. Various injuries meet the serious injury threshold, including any injury causing permanent serious disfigurement or serious impairment of a body function. Victims must submit medical records to prove that they meet Pennsylvania’s serious injury threshold and are entitled to recovery of damages for pain and suffering.
For help with your case from The Reiff Law Firm, call (215) 709-6940 and speak with our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers today.
No-Fault Laws in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is somewhat of a hybrid state regarding auto accidents and fault. Whether or not a victim might be restricted when filing a lawsuit and recovering damages will largely depend on the type of insurance they have.
In Pennsylvania, it is up to drivers to choose how they fit into the state’s no-fault system. Drivers can purchase either full tort coverage or limited tort coverage. If you have full tort insurance, you might pay more in premiums. That said, you will not be restricted when it comes to filing a lawsuit and recovering compensation after a car accident in Pennsylvania. If you have limited tort coverage, you might pay less for insurance, but your ability to recover non-economic damages against a negligent driver could be limited.
In some situations, victims can sue for recovery of all damages, even if they have limited tort insurance. Pennsylvania insurance law provides guidance in these situations. There are exceptions to no-fault insurance laws if a victim qualifies based on their injuries.
Victims should not be discouraged if they have limited tort insurance and are injured in a car accident. There are ways to get around the restrictions on recovery, such as providing medical records that verify the extent of a victim’s injuries.
Who is Impacted by Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Laws?
Suppose you are covered by a personal injury protection plan and you have limited tort insurance. In that case, you may be impacted by Pennsylvania’s no-fault laws if you are injured in a car accident.
As a driver, you can choose between limited or full tort insurance. The plan you have will cover you as a driver or passenger. It may also extend to members of your household. So, suppose your child was hurt in a car accident. Your insurance coverage might also extend to them. This means they might also be limited in how they could recover compensation in Pennsylvania. If a person is not covered any motor vehicle insurance, they will have full recovery options. The type of insurance you have will impact your case if you were hurt as a pedestrian or bicyclist.
Insurance requirements are different for motorcyclists. The type of insurance you have for your car will not extend to a motorcycle accident. This means motorcyclists are never limited when suing for compensation following an accident in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s Serious Injury Threshold for No-Fault Car Accidents
Pennsylvania has a serious injury threshold like many other no-fault or hybrid-fault states. If your injuries meet or surpass this threshold, you can file a lawsuit against a negligent driver to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
If a victim dies in a car accident in Pennsylvania, eligible survivors can pursue a wrongful death claim, even if the victim had limited tort insurance. Surviving victims also meet the serious injury threshold if their injuries cause serious impairment of a body function or permanent serious disfigurement. These definitions are broad, allowing our Philadelphia car accident lawyers to argue that your injuries meet the standard for recovery of non-economic damages if you have limited tort coverage.
Common injuries that qualify victims with limited tort insurance to recover compensation for pain and suffering and other non-monetary damages include traumatic brain injuries, loss of limb, burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, and many others.
Proving Your Ability to Sue Under Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Laws
If you believe that your injuries meet the serious injury threshold and entitle you to compensation for pain and suffering, you will need to present medical records confirming that fact.
In order to that you have sustained a serious injury, you must have evidence in support of your assertion. The most valuable evidence in such instances is a victim’s medical records. When victims sustain serious injuries, they must seek medical attention right away. This will result in documentation that more easily connects your injuries to a negligent driver’s actions.
Your prognosis and need for additional medical care can also demonstrate your eligibility to recover non-economic damages despite having limited tort coverage in Pennsylvania.
Even if you have full tort insurance and sue a negligent driver, you must submit medical records confirming your injuries and the medical costs you have incurred to treat them. Similarly, medical records can help victims with full tort insurance recover non-economic damages, as proof of serious injury can help to illuminate the pain and suffering a victim might have experienced.
To further demonstrate your emotional and mental struggles following an accident, you may have to submit a personal statement or get statements from therapists, friends, and family. Regardless of the type of coverage you have, recovery of non-economic damages is never guaranteed and requires proof in Pennsylvania. If you have full tort insurance or have limited tort coverage but meet the serious injury threshold, you will not be limited in recovery of non-economic damages as Pennsylvania does not cap compensation for pain and suffering in car accident cases.
Call Our Pennsylvania Lawyers About Your Car Accident Case Today
Victims can call (215) 709-6940 to set up a free case assessment with the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm.