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What is Full Tort vs. Limited Tort in Pennsylvania?

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Full Tort vs. Limited Tort in Pennsylvania

Some states, including Pennsylvania, give two coverage options when choosing car insurance policies. This ensures a person chooses a policy that best fits their needs. The two coverage options given in Pennsylvania are limited tort — which restricts the compensation a person can get from a case — and full tort — which puts no restrictions on the compensation.

When choosing limited tort vs. full tort coverage, knowing the difference between the two is essential to make sure you choose the best fit. Here are the differences between full tort and limited tort coverage in Pennsylvania.

What is Pennsylvania’s Tort Insurance?

Simply put, Pennsylvania’s tort insurance allows the injury victim to be compensated following a car accident in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is a “choice no-fault” insurance state. This means the driver is given the choice of either a no-fault insurance policy or an at-fault insurance policy.  The at-fault policy gives the injury victim the right to sue another driver if that driver caused the car accident. However, a no-fault insurance policy means the injury victim will be compensated by their own insurance company regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

However, the victim’s right to sue the other driver for the accident they caused depends on the type of tort option the injured driver had chosen.

What is Limited Tort Coverage in Pennsylvania?

Scranton Road Rage Accident LawyerAccording to Pennsylvania Statutes Title 75 PA.CSA Vehicles § 1705, limited tort coverage (as the name suggests) limits the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. In Pennsylvania, having limited tort coverage means you can receive compensation from your insurance company, such as medical bills, lost wages, or other out-of-pocket expenses, regardless of whether or not you are at fault for the accident. But you cannot sue the other driver’s insurance for any long-term issues or pain and suffering.

You can only sue for pain and suffering under limited tort if you suffer what is considered a “serious injury.” The court system defines serious injuries as the following:

  • Loss of a limb
  • A permanent disfigurement
  • A serious impairment, such as paralysis
  • An injury that can prevent you from working for the rest of your life, such as a traumatic brain injury

Other exceptions to the restrictions with limited tort insurance include:

  • The driver at fault was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The driver’s vehicle is registered out of state
  • The driver intended to hurt the victim
  • The driver does not have insurance

It is important to note that limited tort coverage must be requested in Pennsylvania. If you don’t explicitly ask for limited tort coverage, you will be automatically given full tort until you request to change to a limited tort option.

What is Full Tort in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law states that full tort coverage gives the injury victim an unrestricted right to seek compensation for injuries from the at-fault driver. With full tort coverage, you can not only sue for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage but also for non-economic damages, more commonly known as pain and suffering.

For example, if you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and you are no longer able to drive your vehicle, if you have full tort, you would be able to sue the at-fault driver for your PTSD and the changes it has made in your life. However, if you had limited tort, you couldn’t sue for damages.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Tort Coverage?

full tort vs limited tort

Limited Tort Pro: Less Expensive

Since full tort gives unlimited access, it will understandably be more expensive.  Your premium payments will be approximately 15% more than you would pay for limited tort. If you are on a budget and have trouble making a larger payment for your car insurance, limited tort coverage is the way to go.

Limited Tort Con: Can Be Too Restrictive

Damaged cars after a car accident crash involving a big rig semi truck with semi trailer at a city street crossroad intersection in wilkes-barreLimited tort only allows you to sue for a handful of issues, usually only monetary. This means that if complications come up in the future, there is nothing you can do. For instance, if you discover that you’ve developed an injury that prohibits you from doing some everyday tasks after your accident. Since you have limited tort coverage, you cannot bring a lawsuit to pay any future medical expenses. This alone can make limited tort coverage the wrong choice for some.

Car accidents can cause serious and long-term damage, and the restrictions of limited tort coverage can be too much of a risk. Saving more money in the present is not worth losing out on compensation later, especially in the case of big accidents.

Full Tort Pro: No Restrictions

Since there are no restrictions on full tort coverage, you can sue for non-monetary issues. The biggest example is that you can sue for pain and suffering with full tort coverage.

For example, if you get in a car accident that results in back pain or other kinds of long-term damage, full tort coverage allows you to sue the other driver for these damages. This fact makes full tort coverage a better choice than limited tort for some because the option to sue for pain and suffering or other non-monetary issues is a choice they want to be able to make if they ever have an accident.

Full Tort Con: The Cost

The cost of full tort coverage is higher than limited tort coverage. This is because of how many more options full tort coverage gives. For some, the cost may outweigh the benefits. You may not be thinking about potential car accidents when getting your insurance policy or think full tort coverage is needed. Or you may not want to spend that extra money. So, if you do not want to pay more on your monthly premium or do not think the benefits full tort coverage gives are necessary, then this may not be the coverage for you.

Now I Know the Difference, Which One Should I Get?

The answer is by no means black and white. Insurance policies are different for everyone. It is very important to review each policy’s pros and cons and decide which best fits your needs before deciding. If you want to save money and are okay with taking the risk of the restrictions, choose limited tort. However, if you have the funds and want to ensure you can get a full compensation if you are ever in an accident, go with full tort.

Choosing carefully when hiring a personal injury lawyer is crucial to ensure your case is successfully heard. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys has been helping people nationwide with their cases for over 60 years, and we pride ourselves on being there for you when you need it most. Our experienced team of attorneys works hard to invest in your case and get you the help you need. Whether you have limited or full tort coverage, we will help you and your case. Contact our Pennsylvania car accident lawyer today for a free consultation.

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