For clients who are seeking to recover for injuries suffered in an auto-accident, one of the first and most important questions to ask is whether their auto insurance policy provides full tort or limited tort coverage.
In Pennsylvania, auto insurance providers are required to provide consumers the choice between full tort coverage and limited tort coverage. The real difference is how much access to the court system one has in order to seek compensation from injuries suffered in car wreck.
A limited tort policy is usually about $100-200 cheaper per year, and those covered by a limited tort policy have very limited access to the court system. Essentially, if someone with limited tort coverage suffers injuries in a car wreck, then they do not have a claim unless they have suffered debilitating and disabling injuries. Examples of such injuries are broken bones requiring surgical repair, and herniated disks in the spine requiring surgical repair. Less severe injuries can sometimes be sufficient to get past the limited tort threshold, depending on how the injury affected the injured person’s ability to work.
Limited tort policies only let you recover for out of pocket medical fees, wage loss, and other actual monetary losses. Full tort allows for full compensation, which means that the policyholder can recover all out of pocket fees, but also for injuries including things such as pain and suffering, and bodily injuries.
When you are faced with the decision as to whether you want to purchase a full tort or limited tort plan, it’s important to focus on the long term. Even a minor back injury suffered in a minor accident can turn into something much more serious over time, and if your policy is only limited tort than you may be left alone to suffer the financial burden of that injury without getting full compensation.
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.