Do You Know Your Tort Option?
In Pennsylvania when you purchase automobile insurance your insurance company will ask you to choose either “full tort” or “limited tort” insurance coverage. This is a very important decision which could affect you if you are ever injured in an automobile accident.
If you elect the full tort option for your automobile insurance policy, the law permits you to file a lawsuit against a driver who negligently injures you in an auto accident. On the other hand, if you selected limited tort coverage when you purchased your automobile insurance, then you forfeited your right to pursue a lawsuit against the negligent driver of a car that injured you. There are some exceptions to this rule, but they are quite limited and difficult to understand.
Full tort automobile insurance coverage permits you to pursue a personal injury action against the negligent driver of an automobile for damages to you. These damages include, reimbursement for your medical bills and any expenses you incurred because of your injury. Most importantly, if your insurance provides for full tort protection, you can also sue for your pain and suffering, your lost wages (past, present and future) and for limitations on your activities that result from your injuries.
Limited tort insurance coverage does not allow you to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you experience due to the negligence of another driver of an automobile. If you chose the limited tort insurance option, you will only be entitled to reimbursement for your medical bills or other economic losses which are not covered by your own automobile insurance or other insurance. There are very few exceptions to this rule that limited tort policyholders cannot recover for pain and suffering. The exception applies if your injuries result in your death or a serious impairment of a body function or a permanent serious disfigurement. Another exception is available for people who purchased limited tort insurance who are injured by a drunk driver or by a driver who’s vehicle is registered in a state other than Pennsylvania. Under those circumstances you may still sue for pain and suffering, your lost wages (past, present and future) and for the limitations on your activities that result from your injuries.
In Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, the laws pertaining to automobile insurance coverage are very complicated. If you are injured in an automobile accident you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Attorney John P. Winicov has handled personal injury cases for people injured in auto accidents for over 20 years.