What is Full Tort vs. Limited Tort in Pennsylvania?

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    Pennsylvania is a state with complicated insurance laws that might make filing a lawsuit and recovering compensation after a car accident difficult for victims. If you were recently injured in a crash and wish to recover non-economic damages, the first step is determining if you have full tort or limited tort insurance.

    Drivers in Pennsylvania have the option to choose between full tort and limited tort insurance. The former doesn’t place restrictions on recovery following a crash, while the latter does. In order to sue a negligent driver for non-economic damages, victims with limited tort insurance must meet certain criteria. Some accidents automatically allow victims to meet Pennsylvania’s limited tort threshold, regardless of their injuries. Other victims must sustain certain serious injuries to sue for pain and suffering in Pennsylvania. While choosing full tort insurance doesn’t restrict compensation, limited tort also may not restrict the victim in every case.

    To schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with the Philadelphia car accident attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm, call today at (215) 709-6940.

    What Are the Differences Between Full Tort and Limited Tort Insurance in Pennsylvania?

    In Pennsylvania, drivers have a choice when it comes to the type of car insurance they purchase. The options are full tort and limited tort insurance. Understanding the options available to you is crucial, as your ability to recover compensation after a car accident via a lawsuit may be dictated by the type of coverage you opt for.

    Full Tort

    The most comprehensive car insurance for drivers in Pennsylvania is full tort insurance. With full tort insurance, you can bring a case for all damages after a car accident, regardless of how severe your injuries are. If you have full tort insurance, our West Chester car accident attorneys can help you bring a claim without meeting additional criteria, allowing you to recover non-economic damages for pain and suffering as well as economic damages for financial losses due to a collision.

    Full tort insurance places no restrictions on when victims can sue a negligent driver for pain and suffering and is an option for all drivers in Pennsylvania that want to protect their right to sue in case of a collision. Because of this, premiums for full tort insurance are typically more expensive. This might deter some drivers from purchasing this option, thinking the chances of them getting in an accident are low.

    Limited Tort

    In Pennsylvania, limited tort insurance is just what it sounds like: an insurance option that limits your ability to recover certain damages following a collision. While you may be able to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver if you have limited tort insurance in Pennsylvania, your compensation may be limited to damages for financial losses. This may include recovery for medical bills and lost wages, among other out-of-pocket expenses. How limited tort insurance restricts recovery for victims regards non-economic damages. Victims in Pennsylvania can typically only sue negligent drivers for pain and suffering if their injuries surpass the state’s serious injury threshold, or their accident meets other criteria.

    Exceptions to Pennsylvania’s Limited Tort Threshold

    While drivers with full tort insurance can bring a case for non-economic damages against an at-fault party without meeting further criteria, drivers with limited tort insurance cannot. Our attorneys can explain the situations in which victims of car accidents in Pennsylvania can sue for pain and suffering so that you can understand your chances of recovery in a case against a negligent driver.

    Accident Circumstances

    Certain car accident victims meet the limited tort threshold in Pennsylvania automatically, simply because of the circumstances of their accident. For example, motorcyclists injured in a crash can always sue for pain and suffering after a collision, as they are entirely exempt from Pennsylvania’s no-fault system. Pedestrian victims also meet the limited tort threshold, as do victims injured as riders of commercial vehicles like buses and taxis. Navigating the aftermath of an accident involving a rideshare company may be more complicated. Suppose you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver who received a conviction for driving under the influence following your collision. In that case, you will also automatically meet the limited tort threshold in Pennsylvania, according to 75 Pa.C.S. § 1705(d)(1)(i). There are several other situations in which a victim with limited tort insurance can file a claim for non-economic damages in Pennsylvania, like if a negligent driver failed to maintain liability insurance.

    Victim Injuries

    While limited tort insurance restricts a victim’s ability to recover compensation for non-economic damages against a negligent driver in ways that full tort insurance does not, victims may recover damages for pain and suffering if their injuries are severe enough. Our Media, PA car accident attorneys can compare your injuries to the state’s definition of serious injury to determine whether or not you are subjected to the restrictions of limited tort insurance. According to 75 Pa.C.S. § 1702, the state’s definition of serious injury includes death, permanent disfigurement, and significant impairment of a body function. For example, victims with traumatic brain injuries may be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering even if they have limited tort insurance in Pennsylvania.

    Should I Get Full Tort or Limited Tort Insurance in Pennsylvania?

    When choosing the type of car accident insurance that best suits their needs, drivers in Pennsylvania may be more inclined to go with the cheaper option. This is typically limited tort insurance. While doing so can present difficulties if you are then injured in a car accident, you may still be able to recover the damages you need.

    Many drivers in Pennsylvania choose to purchase limited tort insurance, as it is cheaper than full tort insurance. Drivers typically don’t make this decision expecting they will be injured in a car accident and face barriers to compensation. Drivers may also be unaware of Pennsylvania’s complicated insurance laws and how choosing one type of coverage over another might impact them in the future.

    If you have limited tort insurance and fear you made the wrong choice after being injured in a crash, you may still have options. Our attorneys can assess the specifics of your recent crash to determine if you can recover additional damages in a claim against a negligent driver, according to Pennsylvania’s limited tort threshold. While full tort insurance is more comprehensive, limited tort does not bar you from recovery of non-economic damages in all cases.

    Ask Our Attorneys About Your Car Accident Case Today

    To schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with the Bucks County personal injury attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm, call today at (215) 709-6940.

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