In at-fault insurance states, when an accident occurs, the at-fault driver is liable for injuries and damages caused by the accident. In no-fault insurance states, certain economic damages will be awarded regardless of who is at fault. Pennsylvania state laws essentially allow you to choose between no-fault and at-fault insurance.
Under state law, licensed drivers in Pennsylvania must have at least the following insurance coverage:
- $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person.
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability per accident.
- $5,000 in property damage liability.
- $5,000 in medical benefits coverage.
If you are involved in an accident, your recovery will likely depend on whether you opted for limited tort or full tort insurance.
Limited tort policy vs. full tort policy
If you have a limited tort policy, you have essentially chosen the “no-fault” option. You can recover medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic damages, but you may only recover pain and suffering if:
- You have suffered a serious injury, as defined by state law.
- Other criteria are met (e.g., accident was caused by a drunk driver).
A full tort policy costs more than a limited tort policy, but it allows you to file a claim against the at-fault driver to recover damages, including non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, even if you did not suffer a serious injury.
Many people choose to save money by going with a limited tort policy, only to find that it is insufficient if you end up in an accident. Many accident victims find that they experience emotional trauma and pain and suffering for a long time after the accident. They may also suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions for years to come. A full tort policy is less restrictive and can help cover more than just the bare minimum.
If you have been in a motor vehicle accident, a personal injury attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Your attorney can review your insurance policy and help determine how much you may recover for your various accident-related expenses.