Our state has unique insurance options. And, if you live in Pennsylvania and own a car, you have to choose between two types of insurance coverage: full tort or limited tort insurance. This choice can have a significant effect on your ability to recover compensation if you are injured in a car accident. However, half tort/limited tort insurance is not adequate for most drivers.
The cheaper option
Pennsylvania half tort/limited tort insurance is a cheaper option that limits your right to sue the at-fault driver for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress or loss of enjoyment of life. These damages can be substantial, especially if you suffer a serious or permanent injury that affects your quality of life.
Limiting your damages
However, with limited tort insurance, you can only sue for these damages if you meet one of the exceptions in the law, such as you suffer a serious injury that results in death, permanent disfigurement or serious impairment of a body function. You may also sue if the at-fault driver is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or the at-fault driver is operating a vehicle registered in another state. You can also sue for those damages if the at-fault driver has no insurance, you are injured as a passenger in a commercial vehicle, such as a taxi, or the accident occurred when you were walking or on a bike.
These exceptions are not easy to prove and may require extensive evidence and legal expertise. Moreover, they do not cover all possible scenarios where you may suffer non-economic damages. For example, if you are injured by a distracted driver who was texting or talking on the phone, you may not be able to sue for pain and suffering.
Full tort insurance
On the other hand, if you choose full tort insurance, you have the unrestricted right to sue the at-fault driver for both economic and non-economic damages, regardless of the severity of your injury or the circumstances of the accident. This gives you more leverage to negotiate a fair settlement or pursue a lawsuit, if necessary. Full tort insurance also protects you from being undercompensated for your losses and suffering.
This is why most experts recommend full tort insurance over limited tort insurance if you can afford it. It may cost more upfront, but it can save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run if you are involved in a car accident. Full tort insurance gives you more peace of mind and more options to seek justice and compensation for your injuries.