What's the Difference Between Full and Limited Tort?
In Pennsylvania, when you buy personal car or truck insurance you are asked to choose "full tort" or "limited tort" coverage. This affects any injury claim for you, and any relatives living in your household who are covered by this policy claims for a vehicle-related accident. It is not a factor in most commercial or business policies. It will also affect uninsured and underinsured motorist claims under the policy.
Limited tort means that you can only make a claim for your injuries if they are a certain level of severity, and last for over a year and a half. This means that if you are hurt but have limited tort coverage it is extremely important that you are extra careful in documenting your injuries and following up with doctors. Otherwise the insurance company gets to say "well, you may have been hurt, it may have been the other driver's fault, but your injury isn't serious enough or hasn't lasted long enough so we don't owe you a dime!"
WARNING: Most insurance companies try to tell every person with limited tort that they don't have a claim at all! Not only are there exceptions to limited tort, but limited tort doesn't mean you don't have a claim. Regardless of how long your injury lasts or how severe it is, you have a claim for your medical bills and wage loss that are not covered by the limited tort policy. Example: the policy has $5,000 in medical coverage. Your bills are $10,000. The other driver's insurance policy has to pay the difference even if you have limited tort coverage and are well the minute you leave the hospital.
Many Pennsylvania attorneys do not know the full details of limited tort coverage. Some are not even willing to accept a case if you have limited tort insurance. However, we will. At The Law Offices of Peter N. Munsing, P.C., we will help you resolve your legal problem, no matter what type of insurance coverage you have.
Myths About Limited Tort Claims Disputes
Sometimes insurance companies misinform people. If you were told that you don't have any legal rights because you only have limited tort coverage, don't believe it. Even under limited tort, you may have a case.
Plus, if the other driver was at fault, you always have the right to pursue compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and similar out-of-pocket costs.
Limited tort does not apply if:
- You are in a car or vehicle owned by a company (for instance, a rental car, taxi, bus or company car)
- If the driver who hit you was in a car with license plates from another state
- If the other driver was convicted of or plead guilty to DUI (being charged isn't enough)
- If you were on foot, on a bicycle or motorcycle when you were hit
The whole concept of "limited tort" is very confusing because it uses strange words, isn't explained through real life examples, and is something you sign up for that gives someone you don't know about, someone who is at fault, a potential free pass! Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld this concept and so whether we like it or not, it must be dealt with. Call us and we can help you through this insurance company-created mess!
Protect Your Rights
In Pennsylvania, the medical part of your insurance coverage can last up to four years from the date of injury, even after settlement, but you must protect this right. Here are two important reminders:
- Don't give a statement to your insurance company until you talk to an experienced lawyer. Sometimes an insurance company will ask you to give a recorded statement immediately after your accident in order to limit your medical coverage. It is trying to see if you are really as injured as you say you are. The company does have a right to take a statement, but it does not have to be done right away. Call our law firm first.
- Call an attorney before you sign any papers from your insurance company. The company may ask you to give it authorization to talk to your doctor. In such cases, the company may try to persuade the doctor that you do not really need treatment. Protect your medical information in the same way you would protect your financial or personal information.
WARNING: If workers' compensation, Medicare, Medical Assistance or private health insurers paid your excess medical bills from the accident, you should not sign any release with the other driver's company who will often try to look generous by saying, "Hey, even though you're limited tort and don't have a claim, we'll pay you $500 just to close the file."
This is because workers' compensation, Medicare, Medical Assistance and certain health plans have rights to get repaid from the other driver's insurance. You sign a release and interfere with this, and they'll come looking at you to pay them back! Have a free consultation with us before signing any release.
Consult a Reading Insurance Coverage Attorney Today
To learn more about full tort vs. limited tort insurance, schedule a free initial consultation with our lawyer. Call The Law Offices of Peter N. Munsing, P.C., at 1-888-PALAWS-1 (1-888-725-2971), or contact our Wyomissing office online.
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