As you know, car insurance in any state can be costly. But getting injured in a car accident without having the appropriate auto insurance coverage can be even costlier. Imagine this – you’re driving along and another driver, distracted by his ringing phone, two yelling kids in the backseat, and the fact that he’s late for dinner, cuts across your lane and sideswipes your SUV into the guardrail. The police are called to the scene of the accident; statements are taken from both you and the other driver. He admits liability and is given a traffic citation for causing the accident. You are understandably disoriented, certainly shook up by what just occurred and, while you do not immediately feel pain, you are taken to the hospital at least for precautionary reasons. After 7 hours in the ER and a full workup, you are finally discharged, told to take Ibuprofen should you begin to experience body aches and pains and it is advised that you follow up with your primary doctor as soon as practicable.
Thankfully your injuries are not life threatening but the next couple of weeks are painstaking. Your headaches have decreased but they have not completely subsided, you are bruised, achy, and are having trouble sleeping. Indeed, you are anxious at the mere thought of ever getting back into a car and in fact, you think its best to cancel an upcoming hiking trip because your body is telling you its just not ready for such a vigorous excursion. You ask a family friend to come stay with you for a few days, simple tasks you were able to do before the accident are now difficult.
You do however take comfort in knowing that you recently renewed your auto insurance policy and thanks to the salesperson, you even lowered your monthly payment by selecting limited tort coverage. Stop right there. Limited tort. Well that should cover your pain and suffering shouldn’t it? The salesperson explained that you would still be covered for your injuries if involved in a car accident, right? Or wait; was that only for medical costs?
Understanding the difference between limited tort and full tort coverage can be confusing. And, without fully understanding the difference, many customers choose the less expensive limited tort option. Sometimes, however, the difference between the two can make a huge impact on your life.
When you are in an accident and have limited tort coverage, you are only able to recover for out of pocket medical bills, wage loss, car repair costs, and actual monetary loss. This means, if you are injured in an auto accident, sure the salesperson was right, you can indeed get your medical bills covered. However, what about the aches and pains, the hiking trip you had to cancel, the birthday party you missed and the shame and discomfort of not being able to do a simple task having to rely on a family friend or go without. With limited tort, the answer is simple, straightforward and in many instances sad, you cannot recover any monies for these so-called “intangibles” of life that cause you real pain and suffering.
Sure, in Pennsylvania, there are some exceptions, but these exceptions are not easily met. For example, if the accident brought about a “serious injury” to you, a life impairing injury – or the other driver was intoxicated or driving under the influence; was operating a vehicle registered in another state; intended to injure himself or another person; or was uninsured. You may also retain full tort rights if you are in a vehicle other than a normal passenger vehicle.
However, the obvious and preferred protection is to choose full tort right from the beginning. Sure it may be more expensive but when you need your insurance in the event of an accident, it will be money well spent. If you weren’t at fault for the accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim for pain and suffering. There is something about the peace of mind, knowing that you’re covered in the event of an auto accident that makes paying for full tort worth every penny. Call your insurance agent today and speak with them about your policy and coverage.
And, in the event you or someone you know is involved in an auto accident, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced Personal Injury lawyers at our Media law firm, and schedule a free consultation today.