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Why Limited Tort May Not be Worth the Savings

2014-07-28 Auto Accidents

Shopping for auto insurance in Pennsylvania can be a mystery and many people frankly do not understand what they are buying. This means that price is often the most compelling factor and people are eager to accept any option that can significantly decrease their monthly premium. One such option is limited tort, the election of which can greatly decrease your insurance costs. What many do not realize, however, is that those savings come at a dear price if you are ever injured in a car accident.

Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) allows residents to elect one of two tort options when purchasing vehicle insurance. While the law requires this election to take place through a clear and unambiguous signed disclosure, the fact remains that most purchasers have a limited grasp of what the tort options actually mean:

  • Full tort — This allows an injured policyholder to sue for damages without restriction, including medical expenses, lost wages, and noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.
  • Limited tort — This provides a reduced policy premium but places restrictions on the insured’s ability to sue for noneconomic damages. Individuals with limited tort coverage can still sue for medical expenses and lost wages. However, they can only seek compensation for pain and suffering if they suffered a serious injury, if the at-fault driver was under the influence, if the at-fault driver’s vehicle was registered in a different state, if the at-fault driver caused the accident intentionally, or if the at fault driver was uninsured.

Although there are several exceptions that allow limited tort policyholders to sue without restriction, it is often the case that they are unable to recover compensation for pain and suffering. However, even with limited tort, it is wise to consult an experienced Pennsylvania auto accident lawyer for an analysis of each individual case.

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