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Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What Does The Pennsylvania No-Fault Insurance Law Mean?

Pennsylvania is one of a couple of states in the country that follows a no-fault motor vehicle insurance law. It was originally established to reduce the volume of court cases in the small claims court for all manner of motor vehicle accidents. The law has several intricacies, many of which play a role in determining how much compensation a person injured in a car crash can claim.

If you’ve been involved in a car crash and have suffered injury or damage to property, talk to a Pennsylvania insurance claims attorney as soon as possible. The state’s car accident insurance laws are complex, even for the most experienced drivers. Do not try to figure them out on your own. The other driver won’t take such chances and your insurance company’s legal team is already working on a way to pay as little compensation as possible. Get help from an experienced insurance claims attorney.

What Does The Pennsylvania No-Fault Insurance Law Mean?

Pennsylvania is a no-fault state meaning it requires all parties in a car crash to collect compensation for medical bills and lost wages, in case their accidents compel them to stay out of work, from their own insurance companies, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

Therefore, if you were involved in a car accident, your own motor vehicle insurer will pay for your medical bills and bodily injury, as well as for those of anyone covered, up to the extent of the cover limits.

It is important to note that the no-fault system does not apply to vehicle damage claims. For these, a car owner can legally claim against the driver at fault without limitation.

Interestingly, car owners in the state are allowed to opt out of the no-fault policy when they sign up for insurance, giving them a choice between no-fault insurance cover and traditional insurance cover.

Because of this element of choice, Pennsylvania is more accurately known as a “choice no-fault” state.

Pennsylvania’s Choice No-Fault Insurance Law

For car owners opting out of no-fault cover, Section 1705 of Title 75 gives them a choice between limited tort motor vehicle insurance cover and full tort motor vehicle insurance cover. This choice is made known to them when they are signing up for car insurance.

Limited tort limits the car owner’s rights to seek financial compensation for injuries suffered in an accident from another driver. Under the policy, injured drivers or their household members can only recover medical expenses and other out-of-pocket expenses but they cannot recover damages for pain and suffering or non-monetary damages unless the injuries suffered were “serious.”

This means that an injured driver can only claim against another driver for medical expenses and out-of-pocket expenses such as hospital parking fees but cannot claim for non-monetary expenses such as emotional trauma or pain and suffering unless he proves he suffered “serious injury.” This burden is high since Section 1702 of Title 75 defines serious injury as an injury causing death, permanent disfigurement or severe impairment of body function. Experienced lawyers, however, know how to argue and what to present in order to meet this threshold.  

Full tort, on the other hand, allows car owners and operators to seek financial compensation from the other driver. The car owners under this policy can recover medical and nonmedical expenses, including pain and suffering, from other drivers. This policy usually has higher premiums.  

Pennsylvania’s car insurance laws are reasonably complex. If you’ve been involved in an accidents and are not sure how to proceed, schedule a consult with the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Louis P. Lombardi II & Associates today.

 


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