Car Accident Injury Compensation
Car accident compensation amounts vary based on a number of factors, including loss of income, medical expenses and both you and the other driver’s car insurance policies. The decision regarding full tort versus limited tort coverage from your insurer assists in determining your rights after you’re involved in an accident.
Limited tort prevents you from seeking damages for pain and suffering and other non-monetary effects suffered as a result of your accident. An exception may be allowed in the event of a “serious injury.” Our experience has not found this standard to be pleasing or effective to our limited tort clients, who find their cases dismissed as “not serious enough.”
This can seem especially brutal to those whose day-to-day activities are not rewarded with paychecks. Stay at home parents, retirees, students, children; all are productive, important, vital parts of families.
Full tort allows for full recovery.
What are my rights if I am involved in a motor vehicle accident?
Full Tort V. Limited Tort
Whether you are entitled to make a claim for injuries sustained in an automobile accident may depend on events that happened months or even years before the accident occurred. Whenever you purchase automobile insurance in Pennsylvania, you are required to make a very important decision. That decision will oftentimes control your ability to recover damages for bodily injuries sustained in an automobile accident. You must decide whether to purchase “limited tort” coverage or “full tort” coverage.
“Limited tort” coverage means that you, and certain members of your family, have given up your right to seek damages from a wrongdoer for pain and suffering and other non-monetary damages sustained in an automobile accident unless there is “serious injury.”
“Full tort” coverage means that you keep your right to seek all damages that the law allows, including pain and suffering for injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
There are certain exceptions in the law where a person who has purchased limited tort coverage can regain his full tort status. The exceptions are technical and beyond the scope of this pamphlet. Therefore, if you are involved in an automobile accident, and need legal advice, let us evaluate your claim, whether you have full tort or limited tort coverage. Nonetheless, we recommend that you purchase Full Tort coverage for all of your automobiles.
Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage:
Uninsured coverage is coverage that you purchase from your automobile insurance carrier which provides protection to you when you are injured in an automobile accident and the individual who injured you does not have automobile insurance.
Underinsured coverage is coverage that you purchase from your automobile insurance carrier which provides protection to you under circumstances where you are injured in an automobile accident and the individual who injured you does not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you for all of your damages.
Uninsured and underinsured coverage are very important. The incidence of people driving on our highways without insurance or with low levels of insurance is alarming. By purchasing uninsured and underinsured coverage you provide protection for yourself, and certain members of your family, even when the wrongdoer is not insured or not adequately insured.
Uninsured coverage and underinsured coverage must be purchased from your carrier. “Full coverage” does not necessarily mean you have uninsured and underinsured coverage. Check your policy or call your agent and make sure you have uninsured and underinsured coverage on your automobile insurance policy.
Will making an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim cause my premiums to go up?
Making an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim will not cause your premiums to go up. However, your premiums can be increased by your carrier if you are found to be at fault.
What if I own more than one automobile, can I “stack” the amount of uninsured or underinsured coverage that I have so as to increase my coverage?
Yes, you can increase the amount of uninsured or underinsured motorist protection that you have by stacking the coverage for two or more insured automobiles that you own, provided that your insurance policy provides for stacking. Therefore, it is our recommendation that you advise your insurance agent that you wish to “stack” your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage whenever you have two or more insured automobiles.
What do I do if I am involved in an automobile accident and the other driver’s insurance adjuster phones me?
If you are involved in an automobile accident and the other driver’s insurance adjuster contacts you, we recommend that you not answer any questions and refer the adjuster to us. The adjuster is a trained professional who is in the business of protecting the interests of the insurance company. You may inadvertently jeopardize your rights to full benefits under the law if you talk to the adjuster. When an insurance adjuster contacts you after you are involved in an automobile accident, give him or her our phone number. We will talk to the adjuster and make sure that your claim is protected.
How long do I have to make a claim for injuries that I sustained in an automobile accident?
Claims for injuries sustained in an automobile accident are governed by a statute of limitations that will run out two years from the date of the accident. A prompt and thorough investigation is best conducted close in time to the accident. Therefore, it is important that you contact us as soon as you can following the automobile accident.
If you have a question or would like to review your case with an attorney, please contact us. There is no cost or obligation to finding our more about your situation.