In Pennsylvania, buying limited tort car insurance is an option available to drivers across the state. While it often seems like a good choice for insurance, unfortunately, many drivers find out the hard way how limited it really is. Having limited tort insurance can mean that if you are involved in a car accident, you can find yourself struggling to pay your medical bills for your injuries. If this has happened to you, you may need to speak to a Philadelphia limited tort lawyer.
Because limited tort insurance is only available in a handful of states, including Pennsylvania, many people are unfamiliar with it and what it means for you as an insured driver. It is important to understand exactly what you are getting if you choose to purchase limited tort insurance, because it can impact what happens to you financially if you are involved in a car accident.
Limited tort insurance was created in 1990 as a way to try to lower the price of car insurance premiums for Pennsylvania drivers. The Pennsylvania state legislature adopted Title 75, § 1705 , similar to a law out of Michigan, that allows for drivers to choose the option of limited tort insurance to lower their car insurance costs. It is true that limited tort insurance costs less than its counterpart, full tort insurance. However, the price decrease of limited tort insurance comes with a decrease in benefits as well. In fact, in most cases, you get far fewer benefits for the money that you pay, making limited tort insurance a poor value option instead of an inexpensive alternative to full tort insurance.
In Pennsylvania, you are required by law to carry certain kinds of car insurance as a driver in the state. Drivers must have medical benefits, bodily injury liability, property damage liability, and either full tort or limited tort coverage. The first three types of insurance are intended to your medical bills if you are injured, the other driver’s medical bills if you injure them in an accident, and any damage done to your car or other property inside your car.
Full tort and limited tort coverage is the kind of insurance that covers your right to sue the other driver in a car accident for a number of different damages, including pain and suffering. If you have full tort insurance, you have the ability to sue for an amount to compensate for the pain and suffering you experienced as a direct result of the car accident caused by a negligent driver.
However, if you have limited tort coverage, you are actually not allowed to sue a negligent driver for your pain and suffering. This means that you are limited to receive what the driver’s insurance policy will give you to cover your medical bills and property damage, and if the negligent driver only carries the bare minimum in coverage, you could receive as little as $15,000 to cover your medical bills. If you suffer from a major or disabling injury, that amount is often only a fraction of the costs you will incur in surgery and recovery. Without the ability to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, you could end up with enormous medical bills that you are not able to pay because of your limited tort insurance.
When you have been in a car accident, the last thing you want to worry about are how much it will cost to take care of yourself and your car. Your primary concern should be making sure that you are safe — in fact, after getting in an accident, the first thing you need to do if you are hurt in any way is go to the hospital, because your health is the most important thing to worry about. Unfortunately, hospital care is not cheap. Even if you have insurance, it could thousands hundreds of dollars to even go to the hospital or emergency room, not including costs of surgery, medications, and physical therapy.
When this happens, you want to make sure that the negligent driver who caused your wreck is able to cover these medical expenses. If a driver was driving unsafely or carelessly and caused the accident, they are responsible for your injuries. But if their insurance does not cover your medical bills in full, your last option is to sue for other damages like pain and suffering, which you are unable to do if you are carrying limited tort insurance.
If you find yourself in this situation having taken a gamble on limited tort insurance, you need to contact a limited tort attorney in Philadelphia right away. In some cases, even if you only have limited tort insurance, your particular situation may be an exception to the laws governing limited tort and might allow you to sue for additional damages. Your attorney will be able to evaluate your case and tell you if your case is one of these exceptions, which include if the other driver was driving an out of state vehicle, if the other driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if the other driver had the intention of harming his/herself or another person. In addition, if you have been “permanently and seriously” disfigured because of the accident, you are allowed to sue the other driver for pain and suffering. Your attorney can use your medical records to show that your injuries should be considered as permanent and serious disfigurement.
You may also need a lawyer if you have been in an accident with someone who carries no insurance, or who does not have enough car insurance. In this case, your Philadelphia car insurance attorney can help you apply for the Assigned Claims Plan or the Assigned Risk Plan, which are state sponsored plans that will give you a certain amount to cover your medical bills and property damage if you were harmed by a negligent driver with inadequate car insurance.
Don’t let your decision to buy limited tort insurance put you and your family in a bad financial situation. If you need to cover your medical bills after an accident caused by a negligent driver, get in touch with one of our limited tort lawyers today. We can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries and your pain and suffering.