16th Mar 2016
As we approach spring, more and more people are jogging, walking and cycling out on the roads. Although exercising outdoors has many health benefits, our attorneys see many more pedestrian accidents in the warmer months. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion around how limited tort status affects vehicle accidents that involve pedestrians. Here is a summary of the applicable law.
Limited Tort Status
Although everyone in Pennsylvania must opt for either limited tort or full tort on their car insurance, many people do not grasp the difference.
In an effort to reduce the number of cases based on pain and suffering in Pennsylvania courts, the state classifies car insurance policies as either ‘limited tort’ or ‘full tort’.
Full tort policies allow their holders to sue for ‘pain and suffering,’ while limited tort policies, in principle, do not.
To put this in more concrete terms, limited tort policies allow their holders to claim for monetary loss, such as medical bills, loss of earnings and other quantifiable, out-of-pocket expenses, but do not cover less tangible forms of damages, like ‘pain and suffering’ and ‘loss of life’s enjoyment,’ which may be longer term.
There are a number of exceptions to limited tort policies which can permit policy holders to make claims as if they have full tort status. The most important of these is ‘serious bodily injury,’ as defined by Pennsylvania law. Pedestrians involved in vehicle accidents may also be exempt from limited tort status.
Pedestrians and Limited Tort Status
The exception regarding pedestrians holds that pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders who claim compensation for having been hit by a vehicle will have their claims evaluated as if they have full tort status. If this is your situation, your claim will have the best chance of success with the help of a professional, experienced and courtroom-tested accident attorney.
There are a number of other exceptions that can also override limited tort status. These include situations where the injured party is either driving or riding as a passenger in a business vehicle, where the vehicle of the driver at fault is registered in another state or where the driver at fault does not have car insurance. In each of those cases, the claim can be pursued as if the injured party has full tort status.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of being struck by a vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. Given the complexities of the applicable law, there is no substitute for a law firm whose practice focuses exclusively on this area of the law, as we do at Georgelis Law Firm, P.C. Helping the good people of Lancaster County is the only thing we do. Give Georgelis Law Firm a call today at 717-394-3004, for a free discussion and evaluation about your claim.