FULL TORT vs. LIMITED TORT WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In Pennsylvania, the selection of automobile insurance coverage for your vehicle and any subsequent renewal requires that you select the Full Tort or Limited Tort Option. This selection is extremely important should you become involved in an automobile accident and proceed to make a claim for personal injuries. Oftentimes, the decision that is made at the time of selecting automobile insurance coverage and any subsequent renewal is based upon the cheaper premium option; however, this financial decision could pose potential problems if you are involved in an accident and wish to make a personal injury claim.
The selection of the Full Tort Option involves the payment of a higher premium, and permits claims for economic and non-economic damages. In other words, you can seek compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and wage loss, and there is no requirement that you demonstrate for the pain and suffering component that your injuries arose to a certain severity level. As such, it does not matter if your injuries are major or minor as you can seek compensation for the pain and suffering regardless of the nature and extent of your injuries.
The Limited Tort Option involves the payment of a cheaper premium, and permits claims for economic damages such as medical expenses and wage loss. However, to receive compensation for non-economic damages for pain and suffering, you must demonstrate to the insurance company and/or Court that you sustained death, disfigurement, or a serious injury defined in the law as a serious impairment of bodily function. In other words, with the Limited Tort Option, you will not be paid compensation for pain and suffering which is generally the largest component of personal injury claims unless you are able to show that a specific body part and/or function was impaired for a significant period of time. This threshold presents the most difficulty in attempting to successfully present a claim for personal injury and obtain compensation for pain and suffering when having the Limited Tort Option.
Even so, Pennsylvania Law provides that those individuals covered by the Limited Tort Option may recover non-economic damages without sustaining a serious injury in certain situations. This means that an individual who is insured with a Limited Tort policy may still recover non-economic damages as if he/she had the Full Tort Option under these specific circumstances:
1. The person at fault is convicted or accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in the accident;
2. The person at fault is driving a vehicle registered in a state other than Pennsylvania;
3. The person at fault intends to injure himself or someone else;
4. The person covered by the Limited Tort Option is injured in an accident caused by a defect in the design, manufacture, repair or maintenance of a vehicle;
5. The person covered by the Limited Tort Option is injured while a occupant in a vehicle other than a private passenger motor vehicle; and
6. The person at fault has not maintained financial responsibility or insurance as required by the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.
The most common exceptions to the Limited Tort Option involve an individual at fault driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance or operating a vehicle registered in another state, or the injured party is a passenger in a vehicle other than a private passenger vehicle such as a bus, a commercial truck, a cab, a motorcycle, recreation vehicle, rental vehicle or is injured as a pedestrian.
If you are injured in an accident, and are considering a claim for personal injury, contact Fox and Fox Attorneys At Law, P.C. (610) 275-7990 to discuss the accident and your options for such a claim.