When purchasing auto insurance in Pennsylvania, drivers are required to select a “tort option.” Unfortunately, the differences in “tort options” are not always clearly explained at the point of purchase. Even when the differences are explained, they are not always understood.
Someone injured in an auto accident - that was not their fault - has the right to seek damages from the at-fault party (the “tortfeasor”). The legal rights of the injured party will be affected by the “tort option” in their auto insurance policy. Damages can include wage loss, property damage, medical expenses and most importantly, pain and suffering.
Limited Tort Option
Under a Limited Tort policy, the injured party is “limited” to seeking damages only for wage loss, medical costs and other out-of-pocket expenses. By selecting “limited tort” insurance, a person has “limited” their right to seek damages for injuries caused by the at-fault party.
Full Tort Option
The Full Tort option allows an unrestricted right to seek damages for injuries caused by the party at fault. Full tort coverage allows the injured party to sue for all losses, including “non-economic damages” - pain and suffering.
Even relatively minor accidents can result in pain, physical limitations and other other types of suffering that can linger for months or years. Drivers having the Full Tort option are able to sue the tortfeasor for all of the damages that the injured party is able to prove.
Insurance industry data estimates that Limited Tort coverage costs about 15% less than Full Tort coverage. Drivers wanting to save money on their premiums may overlook the harm that can be suffered even in relatively minor crashes. Drivers should weigh the difference between a small cost savings and losing important legal rights if they suffer an injury that was not their fault.
Exceptions to Limited Tort
In some cases, a person insured under a Limited Tort policy can still seek damages for pain and suffering (non-economic damages). In other words, the injured party can be treated as though having a Full Tort policy. Read more about this in our article “Exceptions to Limited Tort Coverage in Pennsylvania”.
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If you or a loved one has been injured, call us now for a free consultation. With over 20 years of experience in serious injury and wrongful death cases, we have probably seen a situation like yours before. Your consultation is free – and we never charge any fee unless we obtain a money recovery for you. Call 1-800-755-0245 or send an instant message through this website. We look forward to helping you.
IMPORTANT: Every case is unique in its facts and circumstances. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended as legal advice for any particular case. CONTACT US for a thorough analysis of your situation and the particular rights and remedies that may apply.
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