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Why Is It Important To Have Full Tort, Not Limited Tort, On My Pennsylvania Car Insurance?

by MaggieONeil on August 24, 2013

In 1990, the Pennsylvania legislature created the Limited Tort vs. Full Tort election for the purpose of decreasing car insurance costs.  Before such an election was created, anyone injured in a Pennsylvania car accident retained the right to seek full compensation for any injuries and damages from the driver responsible for causing the accident.  With the change in the law, the Pennsylvania legislature allowed the purchaser of car insurance to pay lower car insurance premiums by selecting Limited Tort.  The tradeoff, however, was limited legal rights to be compensated in the event of a car accident.  Specifically, the election of Limited Tort led to a waiver of the right to seek certain types of compensation, unless the injury was deemed “serious” or other exceptions to Limited Tort applied.

A person who elects Full Tort car insurance preserves legal rights to seek compensation in the event of a car accident.  A person covered under Full Tort can seek both economic and non-economic damages from another driver who causes a car accident.  Economic damages would include things like unpaid medical bills, lost wages or out-of-pocket expenses.  Non-economic damages would include damages such as compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress.  If Full Tort is elected, none of your legal rights are sacrificed.

A person who elects Limited Tort compromises legal rights in exchange for lower insurance premiums.  A person covered under Limited Tort is able to recover economic damages (medical bills, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses) from the driver responsible for a car accident.  However, non-economic damages (pain and suffering and emotional distress) cannot be recovered unless there is a “serious injury” or other exceptions apply.  Since the threshold for establishing a “serious injury” is high, injured people are often precluded from recovering non-economic damages because of the Limited Tort election.

You have to be careful when deciding between full and limited tort insurance. It may not worth the savings in car insurance premiums to sacrifice your legal rights by electing Limited Tort.  Instead, it may be safer for Pennsylvania policyholders to select Full Tort coverage.

For more information on car insurance choices, as well as Pennsylvania car accident or Personal Injury cases, contact Tim Rayne at 610-840-0124 or trayne@macelree.com, or check out Tim’s website at http://www.timraynelaw.com.  Tim has offices in Kennett Square and West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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