Yes – if you own and drive a vehicle, you are required to have an insurance policy to operate it.
The truth is that many of us own a policy, but have a limited understanding of what’s in it or how it impacts us. In reality, understanding just a few items in your policy can have a tremendous impact on you if you ever experience an accident.
One key item is whether or not you have full tort coverage.
“Tort” is a legal term that may sound scary, but it’s very simple. A tort is an act that causes injury or harm to another person and has legal consequences. How does that impact you? If you’re a Pennsylvania resident, you have either limited or full tort coverage on your car insurance policy.
To that end, some states require drivers to have a form of tort insurance. You will typically have the option of obtaining full or limited tort insurance, and each one offers different paths for compensation following an accident. However, the chance to seek compensation for pain and suffering is why having full tort insurance is so important.
No one plans to be injured in a motor vehicle collision, but that risk is always there. You may not imagine you will need the opportunity to sue for additional compensation, but you could protect yourself just in case.
What Limited Tort Insurance Covers
The tradeoff with limited tort coverage is simple: you receive less coverage in exchange for paying less. Limited tort allows you to sue a negligent party following an accident so that you can recover expenses related to:
- Emergency visits
- Hospital stays
- Imaging tests
- Medical equipment
- Lost income
In other words, with limited tort insurance coverage, you can file a personal injury claim to recoup general costs related to an accident. In essence, this coverage reimburses you for the straightforward expenses of a car accident.
However, there are many situations in which this will not be sufficient for what you have suffered, as limited tort coverage only covers specific expenses. Receiving additional compensation is often challenging with limited tort insurance.
Proving Serious Injuries
It is possible that you could seek additional compensation after a car accident with limited tort coverage, but you may have to meet certain qualifications. These qualifications will vary by state. One possible criterion involves proving you have what is considered a serious injury. Depending on your state’s definition of serious injury, such injuries may include anything that:
- Carries the risk of death
- Causes disfigurement
- Leads to impairment of an organ or body part
- Leads to the loss of an organ or body part
However, you will typically have to prove you have a serious injury in order to seek additional compensation for it. This means that injuries of this level still are not automatically covered.
What Full Tort Insurance Covers
It’s all in the name — full tort insurance offers full coverage. In contrast to limited tort insurance, full tort insurance allows a victim of negligence to pursue many forms of compensation against the responsible party, including compensation for pain and suffering.
With full tort, you could be able to seek compensation for:
- Reduced quality of life
- Emotional or psychological trauma
- Pain and suffering
- The long-term effects of an accident
These forms of compensation are in addition to the ones typically covered under limited tort insurance, such as lost wages and medical bills.
While you will not need to show that your injuries qualify as severe with full tort coverage, you will still need to prove that the other party’s negligent actions caused your accident. Any injury lawsuit typically must demonstrate that someone else was at fault for your injuries. A personal injury attorney can help you understand what this entails.
How Pain and Suffering Compensation Can Help You
You may wonder how important pain and suffering compensation is for your needs. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, the initial costs are what will likely take up your focus. You could be dealing with bills for doctors’ visits, diagnostic tests, and prescriptions, not to mention the expense of repairing a vehicle. As far as your career is concerned, you may only be worried about the initial lost wages from the days you take to recover.
Compensation like pain and suffering takes into account the more nuanced or delayed consequences of a car accident. For example, a back injury could continue to cause you pain and limit your ability to resume normal activities for a long time, perhaps permanently. A disfiguring injury could be considered not “serious enough” by legal standards and yet still cause tremendous harm to your quality of life.
With full tort insurance, you likely will not have to worry about proving that your pain or trauma meets a certain threshold of eligibility. Instead, your personal injury lawyer can pursue the negligent party for these forms of compensation so that you can focus on healing.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Wisdom tells us to expect the best but plan for the worst, which is why having full tort insurance is so important. Car accident injuries can affect your life more than you anticipate, so make sure to have the ability to pursue a negligent party for negatively impacting your life.
If such an accident does happen to you, the team at Cordisco & Saile LLC is ready to hear your case and provide support. Whether you have full or limited tort coverage, get in touch with our office if you suffered an injury in an accident. We’re here to help. Call a team member at (215) 642-2335 today.