As a partially no-fault car insurance state, Pennsylvania law limits the type of damages for which car accident victims can sue. It does this by offering insureds two options: full-tort coverage or limited-tort coverage.
According to The Zebra, Pennsylvania drivers can choose between full-tort and limited-tort coverage when selecting car insurance plans. The state developed this type of system to limit the number of liability payouts insurers had to pay. Prior to the introduction of these two options, drivers routinely sued for pain and suffering damages regardless of how major or minor their injuries were. This not only overwhelmed the state’s small claims courts but also, it drove car insurance premiums up. The full-tort/limited-tort option helps keeps costs affordable, but it is important that drivers carefully weigh the pros and cons of each, otherwise, they could pay more in the long run.
According to Coverage, full-tort coverage gives Pennsylvania drivers the option to sue the at-fault driver for non-monetary damages such as pain and suffering. The upside to this coverage is that it helps drivers retain their rights to seek compensation for damages that substantially and adversely affect their quality of life as a result of an accident.
Though full-tort coverage can prove beneficial in a serious accident, it is costly. People who maintain tight budgets may not be able to afford this additional coverage.
Drivers who choose the limited-tort coverage option do not have the right to sue at-fault parties for any damages that extend beyond what an insurance policy can pay. Though this type of coverage is cheaper than full-tort coverage, it could end up costing drivers more in the long run. This is because when a driver elects for limited-tort coverage, he or she waives his or her right to bring the other driver to court for damages the extend beyond medical bills and lost wages.
If a driver sustains serious injuries for which the at-fault party’s insurer cannot pay, the best thing the victim can do is consult with an attorney. Regardless of the victim’s existing coverage, a lawyer can help him or her explore options for recovery.