When you purchase auto insurance in the state of Pennsylvania, you are
given the option to select either full tort or limited tort on your policy.
When presented with this decision, many people are inclined to choose
the limited tort option because it translates into a cheaper premium.
However, a large number of individuals don't realize how their tort selection
affects their rights if they get into an accident.
Full Tort Coverage
Full tort preserves your right to bring a claim for pain and suffering
if you are injured in a car crash. Under this form of insurance, you may
seek compensation for unpaid medical and out-of-pocket expenses, and you
may also seek financial compensation for suffering or other non-monetary
damages as a result of your injuries. There are no limits to what injuries
you may bring suit for, whether it be simple whiplash or a more complex
Full tort coverage costs a little more than limited tort, but it is essential
to protect your rights in the event of an accident.
Limited Tort Coverage
Selecting limited tort on your policy does just what it sounds like - it
limits your right to seek financial compensation for pain and suffering.
If you have limited tort, you may seek recovery for medical bills and
other economic losses, but not for pain and suffering or any non-monetary damages.
There are a few exceptions to the limited tort option, but generally, if
you have limited tort you will not be able to bring a claim for pain and
suffering unless you are "seriously injured." Pennsylvania cases
are harsh in their definition of serious injuries. Sometimes, not even
multiple broken bones or head injuries will get you over the limited tort
barrier. Limited tort is less expensive than full tort, but provides limited
coverage in the event of an accident.
A few exceptions to limited tort occur in the following situations:
- When the person at fault is convicted of driving under the influence of
alcohol or a controlled substance in the accident
- When the person at fault is operating a motor vehicle registered in another state
- When the accident involves intentional injury by the person at fault
The above information illustrates only a few exceptions to limited tort
and is not offered as legal advice. Every case is different, so you should
speak to an attorney for advice on your situation.