Full Tort Versus Limited Tort

When you buy Car Insurance in Pennsylvania, you have to choose Full Tort or Limited Tort. When you make the election, it’s an important decision because valuable Legal Rights are at stake for both you and your family members who are covered by the Policy.

Here are some things that your Car Insurance Agent may not have told you about the Full Tort versus Limited Tort issue.

What is the Difference Between Full Tort and Limited Tort?

Full Tort costs more money in insurance premiums, but it preserves your full legal rights to compensation after being injured in a car accident caused by someone else.

Limited Tort costs less, but important legal rights to compensation are sacrificed.

With Limited Tort, in exchange for lower premiums, you are usually prohibited from making a claim to be compensated for non-economic damages (things like Pain and Suffering, Scarring and Disfigurement and the negative impact on your lifestyle and activities caused by the injuries).

In most car accidents, if you are covered by Limited Tort you cannot recover money for your non-economic damages unless you suffer a Serious Injury which is defined as death, serious and permanent disfigurement or serious impairment of body function.

Who is Impacted By the Full Tort/Limited Tort Election?

The Full Tort/Limited Tort Election usually impacts more people than just you. The Election can impact all of the family members who reside with you.

If you buy the car insurance for your family and have the only policy in your household, then your Tort Election covers every family member who resides in your home. So, if you choose Limited Tort, your spouse, children and other family members residing in the home are bound by that election, unless they have their own car insurance policy in which case their own Tort Election will govern their rights.

What Types of Accidents are Covered by the Limited Tort Election?

There is some good news. Even if you are covered by Limited Tort, that election will limit your recovery of damages only for car accidents.

If you are injured as a motorcycle or bicycle rider, as a pedestrian, or as a bus passenger, the Limited Tort Election will not limit your legal rights to compensation.

Limited Tort Does Not Apply to All Car Accidents

More good news. There are other circumstances in which the election of Limited Tort will not impair your legal right to compensation. They are called Limited Tort Exceptions. If one of these Exceptions applies, then you can recover non-economic damages even though you chose Limited Tort.

Limited Tort Exceptions include the following: 1- a car accident caused by someone driving a vehicle registered outside of the state of Pennsylvania; 2- the person who caused the accident was convicted of or pled guilty to driving under the influence; or 3- the person who caused the accident was uninsured.

If one of those scenarios occurs, then you can claim non-economic damages even though you elected Limited Tort.

Tim Rayne is a Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer with the law firm MacElree Harvey. Tim has offices in Kennett Square and West Chester Pennsylvania and also meets with clients at their homes or virtually via Zoom or FaceTime. Contact Tim Rayne for a Free Consultation at 610-840-0124 or trayne@macelree.com or check out his website at www.TimRayneLaw.com.


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