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Understanding Full Tort Vs. Limited Tort Insurance Coverage in Pennsylvania

Written by: Hagelgans and Veronis

What is Tort Coverage?

The word tort refers to a wrong doing that causes injury. Tort insurance allows you to sue the guilty party in the event that you are injured in an accident. Just as it sounds, limited tort limits your rights for recompensation depending on your injuries and the circumstances of the accident whereas full tort does not limit your right to sue. 

In most cases, full tort coverage gives you more options, should something happen while limited tort is typically less expensive. If you are driving your vehicle often and on open roads with other drivers, it is always best to bite the bullet and spring for full tort coverage instead of opting for the cheaper option. 

Pennsylvania’s “Choice” No-Fault System

Pennsylvania is neither a straight “fault” or “no-fault” state concerning automobile accidents. Instead, Pennsylvania is a “Choice” state, allowing consumers to choose which type of insurance they would rather purchase.

By choosing limited tort insurance, you choose to be part of a No-Fault system, where there is no need to determine fault in an accident. You carry Personal Injury Protection insurance, which covers your medical expenses, lost income and even funeral expenses in the case of an accident without regard to fault. This coverage only allows litigation under very specific circumstances.

By choosing full tort insurance, you chose to remove the limitations of the no-fault system. This gives you the right to sue an at-fault driver in an auto accident without the limitations of the limited-tort insurance.

Full Tort Vs. Limited Tort Coverage

The state of Pennsylvania allows drivers tort options: full tort or limited tort. The most significant difference between full tort and limited tort coverage is that the driver with full tort insurance retains the right to sue an at-fault driver for pain and suffering. Limited tort insurance is less expensive and removes concerns associated with fault in an accident, but it only allows for a driver to sue another driver in the most severe circumstances.

Full Tort

Full tort insurance means you have the full right to sue, particularly for pain and suffering. In the case of full tort insurance, the driver at fault in an accident is responsible for medical expenses, lost wages, automobile repair, and more. The injured party is not restricted by his or her insurance in their ability to sue for damages not measured monetarily. 

Full tort effectively takes Pennsylvania’s no fault laws off the table. Full tort insurance is the more expensive of Pennsylvania insurance choices but could be well worth the investment if an automobile accident were to cause you to be disabled, paralyzed or worse.

Limited Tort

Limited tort insurance, as the less expensive option, makes it harder to recover any non-economic damages. With limited tort insurance in Pennsylvania, fault does not matter. In purchasing this insurance, you are choosing to live in a no-fault state where it becomes difficult, but not impossible, to seek monetary damages from a car accident. 

Exceptions to this include death, permanent and serious disfigurement or serious impairment of bodily function. In addition, you are allowed to sue if you are a pedestrian or on a motorcycle, hit by a drunk driver, an uninsured driver or an out of state driver. In any of these circumstances, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible following the accident.

Filing a Tort Insurance Claim

Filing a claim with either full or limited tort insurance is much the same as any other insurance claim, although the initial claim will probably be much easier with limited tort in that no fault will need to be proven. With either torts, medical bills and other expenses will need to be provided in order to be compensated and you will work with your insurance company throughout the process. 

In a full tort or a limited tort claim where you suffered severe injuries, a personal injury attorney with experience in Pennsylvania’s tort laws will become an absolute necessity to ensure that your best interests are taken into account. In these situations, litigation is a necessity and having an experienced attorney on your side makes all the difference.

Get the Right Legal Guidance Today!

As we’ve discussed, some areas of limited tort insurance can get tricky. The best decision you can make is to seek legal guidance immediately following an automobile accident from a personal injury attorney with experience in Pennsylvania tort law. 

At Hagelgans & Veronis, we’ve got your back. We have a reputation for success and we have earned it. Contact us to get started with your free consultation!

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