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Full vs. limited tort coverage: protecting your right to noneconomic damages

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2017 | Car Accidents, Firm News |

Car insurance is an absolutely critical resource for those who are involved in motor vehicle accidents, and it is important for accident victims to understand and pursue their insurance entitlements following an accident.

In terms of insurance requirements, the state of Pennsylvania requires motorists to carry several types of insurance coverage in minimum amounts. Medical benefits, which pay medical bills for the policyholder regardless of fault, the minimum coverage amount is $5,000. Bodily injury liability coverage, which pays medical and rehabilitation expenses and damages to those injured by the policyholder, must be carried at a minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. At least $5,000 of property damage liability coverage must also be carried.

One important choice drivers have to make in terms of insurance coverage is whether they are going to carry only the minimum amount and types of insurance required, or whether they will do more to protect their risk.

Another important choice that has to be made is between full and limited tort coverage. In either option, drivers who are not the primary cause of the accident may still sue other at-fault drivers for economic losses, including unreimbursed medical expenses, unreimbursed lost income, vehicle damage and certain out-of-pocket costs.

Full tort coverage allows the policyholder to sue an at-fault driver for the full amount of noneconomic damages in any case. With limited tort coverage, a driver will save money on premiums, but waives the right to sue negligent drivers for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium, unless certain statutory exceptions applying.

In our next post, we’ll take a look at some of these exceptions and the importance of working with an experienced personal injury attorney in pursuing insurance coverage and damages after an accident.