Pennsylvania Insurance Coverage Attorney
Understanding Full Tort and Limited Tort Coverage in Your Pennsylvania Car Insurance Policy
After a car accident, many people are worried about what their insurance policy will cover. Unfortunately, once you have been in an accident, it is too late to make any necessary changes to your insurance policy. The best thing you can do is protect yourself before an accident happens.
At the law office of Naftulin and Shick, we are dedicated to helping injured people. We believe that part of that is helping people make sure they have the right insurance policy in place before they are ever injured.
What to Look For in an Insurance Policy
There are several components to a car insurance policy:
- Liability coverage: Protection if you injure someone
- Personal injury protection, or “PIP”: Basic medical coverage if you are injured in an accident, regardless of who was at fault
- Collision and comprehensive coverage: Protection if your car is damaged
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: Protection if someone injures you and doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all of your losses
- Tort coverage: Affects your ability to collect compensation for certain losses unless you are seriously injured
What an insurance company may call “full coverage” is not always full protection. Insist on Full Tort instead. This is the unlimited right to sue for pain and suffering. Limited Tort can limit this right so that you cannot bring a claim for anything other than your economic losses, such as the damage to your car, your lost wages, and your medical expenses. There are a few exceptions to Limited tort. If you select Limited Tort you can still bring a claim for pain and suffering in the following circumstances:
- If the injury suffered is a severe disfigurement, a serious impairment of a bodily function or death;
- If the person at fault is convicted or accepts ARD for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in the accident;
- If the person at fault is operating a motor vehicle registered in another state;
- If the injured person was injured while an occupant of a motor vehicle other than a private passenger motor vehicle such as a motorcycle, bus, taxi or work vehicle
My advice is to purchase as much insurance as you can afford. You are paying to insure yourself and your family and making sure that you are fully compensated if you are hurt by someone else’s negligence.
Even if you can only afford the minimum insurance required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, choose Full Tort coverage. Don’t give away your rights.
The state’s minimum of liability insurance is typically not enough to protect you if your negligence causes a car accident. If you don’t have enough liability insurance to cover all of the injured person’s losses, you could be required to pay for the rest on your own.
Tort coverage is an aspect of your insurance, but it affects the compensation you can seek, whether from your own insurance company or another one. If you are injured by another party’s negligence, which tort coverage option you have chosen will partially determine whether you can seek compensation for certain losses, such as pain and suffering:
- Full tort coverage: Having full tort coverage gives you the unlimited right to sue for pain and suffering and certain other losses. You are paying to hold that option open should you be injured because of someone else’s negligence.
- Limited tort coverage: A limited tort insurance policy is less expensive, but it limits your rights. If you are injured through another party’s negligence, you will first have to show that your injuries meet a legal definition of “serious.” If they do not, you will only be allowed to sue for economic losses. It does not allow you to bring a claim for damages to your car, lost wages or medical expenses.
When you contact Naftulin and Shick, we will help you understand your policy and make sure you have the insurance coverage you need in the event of an accident. Contact a lawyer online or call 800-560-3388. It does not cost you anything to understand your rights.