Because Pennsylvania employs what is known as a no-fault system when it comes to car accidents, it makes the matter of recovering compensation for your complete losses that much more complicated.
If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, you may have no idea where to turn for the guidance you’re looking for. Fortunately, an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney can help you navigate the path forward toward just compensation that allows you to reach your fullest recovery.
Pennsylvania Is a No-Fault State
Pennsylvania employs a no-fault stance when it comes to car accidents, which means that drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) that covers them regardless of who is at fault for the accident at hand.
The idea is for this no-fault coverage to simplify the claims process and limit the number of car accident cases that flow through the court system. Several points that it’s important to touch on regarding this no-fault coverage include the following:
- The driver’s PIP policy also covers passengers.
- If your losses exceed the policy’s limits, which are generally fairly low, compensation can be sought through the at-fault driver’s coverage – regardless of who the at-fault driver is.
- PIP coverage applies to medical costs and lost earnings but does not address the physical and emotional pain and suffering that a personal injury claim could.
Pennsylvania’s PIP coverage is sometimes referred to as choice no-fault insurance because it allows claimants to choose whether or not to file their claim with their own or the at-fault party’s provider. In other words, if you are a passenger in a car accident claim, it’s complicated, and working closely with a dedicated car accident attorney is in your best interest.
Time Constraints for Filing Car Accident Passenger Injury Claims
It’s important to note that Pennsylvania, like other states, has a statute of limitations – or time limit – for car accident cases. In Pennsylvania, you have only two years from the date of the injury causing-accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver who caused you to be injured as a passenger.
While this is a considerable amount of time, it’s important to recognize that the claims process can move very slowly, and if you fail to settle your claim or file a lawsuit prior to the statute of limitations running its course, your ability to do so will very likely end.
Pennsylvania Coverage for Auto Insurance
As mentioned, you have choices when it comes to purchasing insurance coverage in Pennsylvania. Let’s take a closer look:
- Limited tort liability allows drivers and their passengers to recover compensation for their medical expenses and lost income through their own coverage, but seeking compensation for pain and suffering is significantly curtailed. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU EVER SELECT LIMITED TORT COVERAGE! You give up important rights when you select limited tort coverage.
- Full tort liability allows motorists to seek full compensation for their complete losses, including pain and suffering, by filing a claim – or lawsuit – against the at-fault party.
- Neither uninsured nor underinsured motorist coverage is required, but such policies help accident victims cover their losses when the at-fault driver either has no insurance coverage or doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to address the losses incurred by the claimant.
Required Coverage Minimums
In Pennsylvania, all motorists are required to carry insurance minimums that include the following:
- At least $5,000 in PIP coverage
- At least $15,000 per individual and at least $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage
- At least $5,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage, which applies to damage the carrier of the coverage causes to another driver’s vehicle
If you are a passenger in a car accident settlement, your claim is unique to the circumstances involved. One element of your claim, however, is that you almost certainly bear no responsibility in the matter.
As such, you’ll need to focus on each of the following:
- Determining which driver – or drivers – is responsible for the losses you’ve suffered
- Demonstrating the extent of the related physical, financial, and emotional losses you’ve experienced
- Building your strongest claim, which includes gathering evidence and eyewitness statements
- Negotiating with the involved insurance company or companies for fair compensation that allows you to recover to the degree possible
- Navigating the challenging legal system and protecting your rights in the process
- Making the decisions that are right for you in your unique circumstances along the way
Each of these primary tasks is something your trusted car accident attorney can help you successfully accomplish – in pursuit of just compensation that covers your full range of losses.
An Experienced Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorney Is on Your Side
If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a car accident and played no role in the crash, you can experience considerable losses as a result. It leaves you in a very challenging position. The Pennsylvania car accident attorneys at Luschas, Naparsteck, & Crane, LLP, recognize the complexity and gravity of your situation and are well-positioned to help.
Our legal team can be contacted online or by phone at 570-799-8809 for more information.
Car Accident Case FAQs
What is my car accident claim worth?
If you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider, you can seek compensation for your losses in each of the following categories:
- Property damage to your vehicle and its contents
- Your medical bills, including any ongoing costs
- Your lost income, including any lost earning potential
- Your physical and psychological pain and suffering
How long do I have to file my car accident case?
You have only two years from the date of the accident that leaves you injured to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s insurance provider, and the lengthy claims process can quickly run through this time barrier.
Is it important to have a car accident attorney?
Hiring a seasoned car accident attorney is one of the most important steps you can take in the protection of your rights and your rightful compensation if you have been injured as a passenger in a car accident.