While Pennsylvania has minimum coverage requirements, you have the option to preserve your right to sue for any injuries. One of our car accident lawyers in Bucks County can help you understand the difference between your options to find the coverage that is best for you.
Remember to not let your coverage lapse or drive without insurance, as you can be subject to fines and other penalties.
The two types of insurance coverage in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania requires you to carry insurance that covers:
- $15,000 for injury or death of one person
- $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person
- $5,000 for damage to property of another person
Most states have either at-fault or no-fault insurance coverage. In no-fault states, like Pennsylvania, you receive help paying for medical bills and replacing lost income through your own insurance. You are reimbursed regardless of who was responsible, even if that person was you. With that, you have two options for your insurance coverage:
- Limited tort
- Full tort
The main difference between the two choices is if you can pursue additional damages (75 Pa. C.S.A. § 1705).
If you opt for limited tort coverage when you purchase insurance, you will meet the minimum requirements. However, you will only receive compensation for medical expenses and income losses after an accident. If you want to pursue additional damages, you must have sustained a serious injury (18 Pa. C.S.A. § 2602).
Serious injuries are any bodily injuries that cause:
- Substantial risk of death
- Serious, permanent disfigurement
- Protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member
- Protracted loss or impairment of the function of any organ
For example, if you sustained a jagged laceration to your face in your car accident, causing a disfiguring scar, you could be eligible for more than just the cost of your medical care. Other injuries like paralysis, lost limbs, or internal injuries could also qualify.
With full tort insurance coverage, you will still receive coverage for any losses related to your medical treatment and job. However, in contrast to limited tort, this coverage allows you to pursue additional damages regardless of your injuries’ severity.
This pursuit must be done through a personal injury lawsuit. The auto accident lawyers on our team in Bucks County can explain how to take this type of legal action.
Which forms of coverage do you need?
Making sure you have the right auto insurance coverage to protect yourself involves determining whether you want to preserve your right to sue. Limited tort coverage can be cheaper per month, but make sure you fully understand what you are giving up with that option.
Car accidents carry consequences beyond just the bills, and non-economic damages acknowledge those consequences. You only have a right to pursue those damages if you have full tort coverage or are seriously injured. Full tort preserves your right to pursue compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of independence
- Loss of consortium (intimacy)
For instance, a broken leg can represent more than just the cost of X-rays and a cast. If you were an avid athlete in your spare time, that broken leg could mean an end to your favorite hobby, causing you significant distress and reducing your quality of life.
Some crashes can also interfere with your mental health. Perhaps you developed a fear of driving down the route where your crash occurred. Avoiding that route could interfere with your daily life, as well as cause anxiety or depression.
What are the penalties for not having insurance?
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation outlines the consequences for being caught driving without insurance, including:
- $300 fine
- A three-month suspension of registration and license
- Fees to restore your registration and license
- Ban on use of the vehicle
Keep in mind the costs implicit in these penalties. For instance, if your license and registration are suspended, you may have to pay for public transportation, rideshares, or taxis. Your car will also be unavailable to anyone during your suspension period, even family members or spouses.
Insurance lapses also put you at risk for these consequences. That being said, Pennsylvania does allow a 30-day grace period for you to obtain new insurance. Protect yourself and others by meeting the minimum insurance requirements.
Talk to our team about the rights you have under your coverage
At Cordisco & Saile LLC, we care about you having the right auto insurance protection.
Contact us for a free consultation at (215) 642-2335 if you have any questions about what damages you can pursue after a Bucks County crash. Our car accident lawyers can help you stay informed.