Whenever a new Pennsylvania Car Accident client comes into my office with Limited Tort rather than Full Tort on their Car Insurance Policy it’s usually bad news. In fact, it’s often a situation where a decision to save $100 on there car insurance bill could cost them as much as $10,000 in their Pennsylvania Car Accident case.
Limited Tort is nice to have if you are never injured in a Car Accident because it’s 10-15 percent cheaper than Full Tort, but it limits your legal rights and can cost you thousands in potential compensation if you are injured in a Car Accident.
What is Difference Between Full Tort and Limited Tort?
When you buy Car Insurance in Pennsylvania you have to make a Tort Election – Full Tort or Limited Tort. It’s an important and confusing decision because insurance agents who are focused on making a sale often do a poor job of explaining the distinction between the two.
The Tort Election impacts your legal rights and the rights of your family members who live with you and are covered by your policy. Believe it or not, your Tort Election dictates what compensation you or a family member are legally permitted to recover if you are injured in a car accident caused by someone else.
Full Tort protects your full legal rights to compensation. It’s more expensive than Limited Tort but your full legal rights are preserved. If you are injured in a car accident cause by someone else, you are entitled to recover Economic Damages for your medical bills, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses and Non-Economic Damages for your pain and suffering and the negative impact on your life and activities.
Limited Tort limits your legal rights to compensation. It’s 10-15% less expensive than Full Tort but in exchange for the savings on insurance premiums, your rights to legal compensation after a car accident caused by someone else is limited. You ar still allowed to recover your Economic Damages (medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses) but you cannot make a claim for Non-Economic Damages (pain and suffering and negative impact on life and activities).
Are There Exceptions that Allow Limited Tort Policy Holders to Recover Non-Economic Damages?
Luckily there are exceptions to the Limited Tort bar of recovery of Non-Economic Damages.
First, if you sustain a “Serious Injury” you can still recover Non-Economic Damages. “Serious Injury” is defined as death, serious and permanent disfigurement or serious impairment of body function.
Other common exceptions that will allow you to recover Non-Economic Damages even if you selected Limited Tort include:
* Being injured as a pedestrian, on a motorcycle or in a vehicle other than a private passenger motor vehicle like a bus
* Being injured by a driver who was driving a vehicle registered out-of-state
* Being injured by a drunk driver
* Being injured by an uninsured driver