February 5, 2015

Pennsylvania is considered a “limited tort” state when it comes to car insurance coverage. In a nutshell, this means that motorists can choose between insurance coverage which will limit their ability to claim damages for pain and suffering and bodily injury, and one which will not. Generally, car insurance companies offer motorists the limited tort insurance at cheaper rates than the full tort insurance.

As a general rule, insurance companies make more money when they have to pay out fewer claims. This is why insurers would rather consumers take the limited tort insurance which will prevent them from making expensive claims following a car accident.

What is important to remember is that under Pennsylvania law there are a few exceptions which allow individuals with only limited tort coverage to pursue those larger claims. For example, a pedestrian or a bicyclist who is hit and injured by a car is not bound by the limited tort option. The reason for this is because a person walking or biking is not operating a motor vehicle and therefore those victims should not be bound by the type of car insurance they happen to carry for their cars.

That same logic also applies to individuals who are an occupant of a non-private passenger vehicle. That scenario would typically mean that you are either driving or riding in a commercial vehicle being used for some business purpose. Pennsylvania will not restrict your ability to sue for full damages just because you happened to be a passenger on a bus which was struck by a careless driver.

These are only a few of the exceptions which are available to car accident victims throughout the Commonwealth. Your Pennsylvania personal injury attorney will be able to examine the specifics of your case and determine whether a civil lawsuit is appropriate for your car accident. If you qualify for an exception to the limited tort rule you may be able to sue for greater compensation for your injuries.

Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, “§ 1705. Election of tort options.” accessed Feb. 05, 2015