Do you know the difference between full tort vs limited tort Auto Insurance? It can get confusing, I know, and that’s why I wrote this article – to help you better understand all the important details. With the economy today – very high energy and gas taxes – folks are looking for ways to save some bucks. Pennsylvania is going through some tough times right now, and that’s probably why the Commonwealth of the state came up with the idea of limited torts.
The Pennsylvanian Way
Not a lot of US states offer this choice, so, if you’re a Pennsylvanian, it would be wise to take some time and learn about the full tort and limited tort. I’ll tell you everything you need to know on the subject and let you decide what the best option is. The state of Pennsylvania introduced this back in 1990, and, to put it simply, the pros and cons of full tort vs limited tort are as follows: if you go with full tort, you won’t be limited in the so-called “noneconomic damages” (like suffering and pain); you will be able to pursue if you’re unlucky enough to get into an accident. The downside to this is the insurance rates will cost you more.
If you, on the other hand, decide to stick with the limited tort option, then you’ll save some money and will have to pay roughly about 15 percent less for the auto insurance. The downside to limited tort is that it will be almost impossible to get coverage for the noneconomic damages. However, even with the limited tort option you might still claim loses like property damage, medical bills and wage loss. So, that’s full tort vs limited tort in a jiffy for y’all. But that’s not even the half of it.
To Pay Up Or Not To Pay Up?
Basically, the difference between full tort and limited tort is enormous – if you choose full tort, you’ll have to pay up each month for no reason (that’s what you would think at first), but if – God forbid – an accident happens, you’ll be fully covered (as much as a person can be covered, that is). And if you get a bit greedy and choose the limited tort option, you’ll save some hard-earned bucks, but, as there’s no telling when that f***ing accident will happen, you will always be under the dome, so to speak, driving 10Km an hour and being extremely careful not to hit a car on the road. Because if you do, you’re pretty much on your own, and the taxes will be ridiculous. Well, I got carried away a bit – you won’t be on your own, and you could even still recover a lot of the noneconomic damages, if you fall into the “exceptions”. Let’s get a bit technical and take a look at the exceptions – step by step.
Full Tort VS Limited Tort – Exceptions
Gotta warn you upfront – the exceptions are a bit ridiculous and not very clear. Hey, you didn’t think it was that easy, did you? Law is a very complicated and sometimes impudent profession, so, the folks who came up with the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (yep, that’s the official name) thought it all through and the system has its flaws. So, if you got auto insurance and chose the limited tort option, you can still (limitlessly) recover those noneconomic damages if – 1- you’re a good citizen and did not cause the accident, or if – 2- any of these conditions are true:
– You were injured in a commercial car (hope it’s nothing serious :)) that wasn’t your own – meaning rental cars, work vehicles, taxis, busses, trains, whatever;
– You were injured only because of a flaw in manufacturing or a glitch in design (maybe a repair defect) of the car;
– The driver who caused the accident had a BAC higher than .08 at the time of the impact And (not or) was convicted of driving drunk or was in the ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program;
– The vehicle of the at-fault driver was not registered in the Commonwealth when the accident happened;
– The at-fault driver meant to hurt him or herself (yep, that’s a possibility too) with the accident;
– The at-fault driver (sounds stupid, right?) didn’t have car insurance when the accident happened.
Now, that’s all serious documented law, I’m just trying to keep it fun, because all that mumbo-jumbo can make your head hurt. Still, there’s one more very important exception that we have to look at right now to figure out the “winner” in the case of full tort vs limited tort.
The Final Exception
You may laugh, or you may cry, but that other exception to the limit on noneconomic damages for those who chose the limited tort is officially called the “serious injury exception”. Are you for real right now? “Serious injury”? Come on, man, you crazy? Yep, that’s pretty much what I said when I learned about this – I’m guessing you’re having the same reaction. I mean, who’s the judge? Who’s gonna determine if my or your injury is serious enough to be qualified as an exception? The law is not clear on that matter, but basically, I’m guessing a “serious injury” is something really bad, fatal, like an impairment of a bodily function, for example, or – God forbid – a permanent disfigurement. To determine whether the injury is a serious one or not, the judge or jury of the state of Pennsylvania will take the following factors into consideration:
– The exact extent of the injuries;
– What kind of treatment the victim will have to go through after the accident;
– The exact duration of the treatment stemming from the accident;
– The seriousness (that word again!) of any “medical problems” that still linger on after the treatment is (successfully) over;
– The difficulty or impossibility to perform any activities – live a normal life, that is – after the accident or a complete loss of interest and enjoyment.
That’s some horrible stuff about the difference between full tort and limited tort, I know, but that happens in life, so, you gotta be prepared. So, I recommend you forget about saving and hire an experienced and qualified attorney to help you through the whole process. The thing is, the lawyers at the insurance companies will try their best to make sure you don’t get any coverage and none of the exceptions applies. They will fight you violently and will do their best to convince the judge/jury that your injuries are not serious. Oh yeah, that’s how it is these days, so, again, get yourself a good attorney and hope for the best. Or, better yet, pray you don’t ever get into an accident.
And finally, please, do write about your experience with the full tort vs limited tort routine and tell us your personal story, so that we can all join minds and come up with a solution.
In this video you’ll learn, What is Full Tort vs Limited Tort Auto Insurance: