Owners of registered motor vehicles in Pennsylvania must have automobile insurance that provides coverage to those who are injured as a result of their operation of that motor vehicle. When selecting automobile coverage for that vehicle, you will be asked to choose “Full Tort” coverage or “Limited Tort” coverage. The premium that you pay for such automobile insurance coverage will depend on your selection of Full or Limited Tort.
The premium for Limited Tort coverage is less than the premium charged for Full Tort coverage. In some cases, the premium can be substantially less. However, in exchange for this lesser premium, when you choose Limited Tort, you limit your ability to sue another driver for injuries that you may suffer in an automobile accident. By choosing Limited Tort, you agree not to sue another driver who may have caused injury to you for pain and suffering unless you experience a “serious injury”. Some courts have indicated that painful whiplash and soft tissue injuries such as sprain and strains do not constitute “serious injury”. Thus, you may not be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering caused by these common motor vehicle injuries.
If you choose Limited Tort coverage at the time you apply for automobile insurance, you must not only be advised in writing by the insurance company or agent of the legal rights you are giving up in exchange for the lower premium, but the insurance agent or company must have you sign a written document. If you did not sign a document you may have Full Tort rights even though you paid the lower premium.
If you have questions about your insurance coverage or are injured in a car accident, please contact Lamb McErlane to discuss your rights. We have years of experience handling automobile accident cases involving both Full Tort and Limited Tort automobile policies.