Insurance laws and policies can be complicated to untangle and understand. Oftentimes, people just pick the cheapest policy and move on. Understanding your coverage and the insurance laws of your state, however, can have powerful implications for you. This is especially true if you are ever involved in a car accident. After an accident, navigating the insurance claims arena will be necessary to recover compensation for damage and losses you have sustained as a result. To help you understand the basics of Pennsylvania insurance law, we will start by addressing whether or not Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state.
Is Pennsylvania a No-Fault Accident State?
Pennsylvania has basic insurance requirements. These insurance coverage minimums are in place to help ensure that all drivers have adequate insurance coverage available to them should the need to access such coverage arise. For instance, all drivers must carry at least $15,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person and $30,000 total coverage. All drivers must carry at least $5,000 in liability coverage for property damage. All drivers must carry a minimum of $5,000 in first party medical benefits coverage to cover the medical costs incurred by the policyholder.
As one of a minority of no-fault states, Pennsylvania law also requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. The fact that it is a no-fault state means that accident injury victims must first pursue payment of their medical expenses through their own insurer, regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident. Should an accident victim sustained injuries that exceed the limits of their PIP coverage, the question then becomes whether they had limited tort or full tort coverage on their insurance policy.
Under a limited tort policy, a claimant cannot pursue compensation beyond a specified award cap. In many cases, they will not be permitted to pursue compensation for pain and suffering damages. They will only be allowed to pursue pain and suffering damages if their injuries are severe enough. “Severe enough” usually means that they have permanently lost some kind of physical or cognitive function.
Conversely, under a full tort policy, a claimant is essentially opting out of the state’s no-fault insurance system. While full tort policies are more expensive than limited tort policies, Full tort policy holders retain the right to sue an at-fault driver for all damages stemming from the accident, including pain and suffering damages. They can pursue a full jury verdict in court and there will be no cap on the amount of damages they can pursue. Full tort insurance policy holders can fully pursue their damages regardless of whether or not their losses fall below the requirements for that of limited tort policyholders.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
Have you been in an accident and have questions about your insurance coverage or the avenues for pursuing compensation that may be available to you? Talk to the team at Cooper, Schall & Levy about your options. We will help you seek the compensation you need and deserve after suffering losses in an accident. Contact us today.