When selecting an automobile insurance policy in Pennsylvania, the policy holder must select either full tort, or limited tort, automobile insurance.
In New Jersey, limited tort is referred to as “the verbal threshold.” In Pennsylvania, selecting a policy of full tort automobile insurance allows drivers to recover economic, and non-economic, damages in the event that they are injured in a motor vehicle accident, and the accident is not their fault.
A selection of limited tort automobile insurance will permit an injured person only to recover for actual economic loss such as damage to your vehicle, out of pocket medical expenses (i.e., those not covered by any type of health insurance), lost wages (past and future), and money expended for household services.
An individual who selects full tort automobile insurance is entitled to economic loss damages, and more, including damages for physical, mental, or emotional pain that impacts one’s daily life, suffering, humiliation, emotional distress, the pleasures that one experiences in everyday life, disfigurement, embarrassment, and spousal loss of consortium.
Choosing Between a Limited Tort and Full Tort Auto Policy
Limited tort automobile insurance almost always makes your automobile insurance premiums cost less money than if full tort automobile insurance is selected. All too often, when the limited tort driver is injured in an automobile accident by another “at-fault” driver, the premium savings will have failed to justify the decision to elect limited-tort. Ask your insurance agent to provide you with the difference in cost for a full tort automobile insurance policy and a limited tort automobile insurance policy before making a decision about which policy to choose.
No one plans, or expects, to be in an automobile accident. But you should purchase automobile insurance with a consideration of the risks involved in driving a motor vehicle on Pennsylvania’s roads.
A 2012 study of car accident statistics in Pennsylvania released by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reveals the following:
- There are approximately 14 motor vehicle accidents every hour;
- Approximately 10 people are injured in a motor vehicle accident every hour in Pennsylvania; and
- Southeast Pennsylvania is home to the highest frequency of motor vehicle accidents, including Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties;
Making an Informed Decision on Auto Insurance – Cost vs Risk
Pennsylvania drivers must be aware that they are giving up the right to receive significant categories of compensation when they opt for limited tort. If lowering the cost of your monthly premiums is important to you, consider raising your deductible as an alternative to choosing limited tort coverage over full tort coverage. Remember, electing limited tort may save you a little bit of money each year, but the pain and suffering from a motor vehicle accident may lead to a long-term, or permanent, disability for which you may be severely under-compensated with limited tort insurance coverage.
Choosing the Right Lawyers for Your Motor Vehicle Claim
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, whether you chose full tort automobile insurance or limited tort insurance, it is important that you speak to an attorney in order to preserve your legal rights. Usually, initial attorney consultations are free, and you can find out exactly what you may be up against. Your attorney will help you obtain first party benefits (covering wage loss and medical bills) from your own automobile insurance policy, and will contact the other driver’s insurance company to initiate a third party liability claim.
A phone call to our office takes 5 minutes, the consultation is free, and everything you tell us is kept confidential. Call McLaughlin & Lauricella if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident to determine if you have a claim. The other driver’s insurance company is already investigating the accident; shouldn’t you be doing the same thing?