Pennsylvania has some of the most complex car insurance laws in the United States. Pennsylvania is a state with both fault and no-fault insurance laws.
When you’re in a car accident, the type of insurance you have is important. It impacts how you may go about claiming compensation and what you can receive. Our car accident lawyers at Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP explain Pennsylvania no-fault insurance laws.
Lawyers for Pennsylvania No-Fault Accidents
Have you been in an accident in Pennsylvania? Whether you have full tort or limited tort insurance coverage, you have important rights. Our lawyers help accident victims exercise their rights to compensation following a car accident. Contact us at (570) 799-8285 for a consultation regarding your claim.
What are Pennsylvania no-fault insurance laws?
Pennsylvania no-fault insurance laws are a multi-tiered system that allow for tort-based compensation in some circumstances.
- All drivers must carry minimum amounts of car insurance
- Car insurance minimums cover medical bills for the driver, bodily injury to others and property damage to others
- At the time they purchase insurance, a driver must select limited tort or full tort
- If the driver selects limited tort, they may claim compensation from the at-fault driver only if they have serious injuries
- If the driver chooses full tort, they may claim compensation including pain and suffering from the driver at fault, even if the injuries are minor
What is limited tort in Pennsylvania no-fault law?
Limited tort in Pennsylvania is what most people think of as no-fault law. The driver who elects limited tort pursues a minor accident claim through no-fault benefits. Highlights of the no-fault insurance system are:
- The driver collects compensation for medical bills and lost wages from their own insurance
- Each driver must have $5,000 minimum to pay medical benefits
- The at-fault driver is still liable for vehicle damage
- If the injuries are relatively minor, the driver does not receive compensation for pain and suffering
- When injuries are serious, the driver may sue the responsible driver for all damages
Limited tort insurance is less expensive than full tort. However, when a driver opts for limited coverage, they are barred from receiving pain and suffering compensation unless their injuries are extremely serious.
What is full tort in Pennsylvania no-fault law?
Full tort in Pennsylvania no-fault law is essentially an opt-out of the no-fault system. The driver must still have minimum insurance coverage. However, they may claim compensation from the party responsible for the accident, no matter how minor their injuries and damages are. Pain and suffering compensation may be claimed, regardless of whether the injuries are relatively minor or serious as defined by law.
Full tort coverage is more expensive, but it is generally considered better. Victims may receive full compensation without having to prove injuries reach a certain threshold. Pain and suffering comprise a significant amount of compensation even when injuries do not meet the threshold in no-fault law.
Who pays for car damage in PA?
The driver at fault for the accident pays for car damage in PA. Whether or not the drivers are part of the no-fault system, the party that causes the accident pays for the vehicle damage. All drivers must have at least $5,000 insurance to pay damages if they are at fault for the accident.
What is the Pennsylvania car insurance law?
Pennsylvania car insurance laws are listed in Consolidated Statutes Chapter 17 – Financial Responsibility. § 1705 states the full tort and limited tort options and gives drivers the opportunity to select between them as well as stating that additional coverage may be available for a fee beyond the minimum requirements.
What is a serious injury in Pennsylvania no-fault law?
Under Pennsylvania no-fault law, a serious injury is one that:
- Seriously impairs a bodily function
- Causes death
- Creates permanent, serious disfigurement
Source: § 1702 – Definitions in Pennsylvania Car Insurance Laws
What injuries are needed for pain and suffering compensation in no-fault?
By the time you’re in an accident, whether you have no-fault or full tort coverage has long been settled. The big questions are what coverage you have and if you have no-fault coverage, whether your injuries qualify to bring a tort claim. Injuries that may meet the threshold to claim pain and suffering include:
- Broken bones that cause distortion, like arms and legs
- Brain trauma, concussion, loss of consciousness
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Burns covering a significant part of the body
- Lacerations and exposed tissue
- Loss of limb
- Injuries causing a loss of bodily function, extensive therapy may be required
There’s no bright line test for what injuries qualify. You must show that your injuries meet the qualifying standards under Pennsylvania law. Our lawyers can evaluate your injuries to see if they qualify as serious, permanent or disfiguring. We can work with you to ensure that you have the medical proof to establish your right to compensation.
Why you need an experienced car accident lawyer
It’s the goal of the insurance company to pay as little compensation as possible. Many times, the other driver won’t have enough insurance. They may contest your right to a claim. Our lawyers are experienced, trained and dedicated to ensuring that you’re treated fairly following a car accident. We can evaluate your case and take the appropriate steps on your behalf to claim compensation.
How our lawyers can help – Consultation for car accident claims
Whether you have no-fault or full tort insurance, you have the right to fair compensation for your car accident claim. You must prove your right to compensation and the amount of your damages.
Our experienced car accident lawyers at Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP can help you evaluate your case and determine the best way to proceed. Contact us at (570) 799-8285 for a free case review.