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What is the difference between Limited Tort and Full Tort?
Limited Tort and Full Tort are automobile insurance selections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which every driver must choose between when obtaining a personal (non-commercial) policy of automobile insurance. People often confuse Full Tort with “Full Coverage;” however, these two concepts are completely different and for the unknowing consumer, can have a significant impact on their right to recover compensation when involved in an accident.
“Full Coverage” is a term used by automobile insurance agents to sell policies of insurance to automobile owners. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and State of New Jersey have mandatory automobile insurance requirements for personal automobiles. In Pennsylvania, all automobile owners are required to carry at least the statewide minimum amount of bodily injury liability insurance ($15,000 per person/ $30,000 per accident), $5,000 in no-fault medical benefits and $5,000 in property damage liability coverage. As long as these three requirements are met, an insured is considered to have “Full Coverage”. Consumers must be careful when purchasing insurance, as the statewide minimums offer very little protection to an insured who causes an accident and an injured victim can potentially pursue one’s personal assets if their injuries are found to be worth more than the amount of coverage obtained by the insured.
Full Tort and Limited Tort, on the other hand, are selections on an automobile insurance policy, which affect the insured and members of the insured’s household. Importantly, an insured is by default deemed to carry Full Tort insurance unless a policy of Limited Tort is selected by the insured’s signing of a standard tort selection form, at the time coverage is obtained or at any time thereafter. Insurance agents tend to push the Limited Tort option because it provides for a more attractive insurance premium for the insured; however, the cost savings are in fact minimal when compared with the rights one gives up in selecting to be bound by Limited Tort.
A person who carries the Full Tort option on their automobile insurance policy can recover money damages, including an amount for pain and suffering, if they can prove they were injured in an automobile accident as the result of somebody else’s negligence. Those who are bound by the Limited Tort option, on the other hand, may only recover medical bills, wage loss and other economic damages, unless they can prove that at least one of their injuries caused a “serious impairment of a body function”. This standard is not only confusing, but difficult to overcome and accordingly, many Pennsylvania attorneys will not represent accident victims bound by Limited Tort. Unlike its New Jersey counterpart, the Verbal Threshold, a “serious impairment of a body function” does not need to be a permanent condition, and is solely in the discretion of a judge, jury or arbitrator to determine whether the injured victim overcomes the threshold. Additionally, there are situations where a person otherwise bound by the Limited Tort selection is not subject to proving the “serious impairment of a body function” threshold, such as when that person is involved in an accident with a driver of another vehicle registered outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, when the other driver is convicted of or pleads guilty to driving under the influence, when the injured victim is a passenger within a commercial vehicle or common carrier such as a Septa bus, or when the injured individual is a pedestrian struck by an automobile.
Jeremy M. Weitz, Esquire is one of the few attorneys in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and New Jersey for that matter, who regularly accepts and litigates automobile accident cases where the injured client is subject to the Limited Tort threshold. In fact, attorneys who do not litigate Limited Tort cases often refer their Limited Tort cases to Mr. Weitz for handling. Mr. Weitz and his firm have a significant track record of success with regard to Limited Tort cases and are not shy about taking such cases all of the way to trial, if necessary. If you have been injured in an accident, contact Mr. Weitz before speaking with any automobile insurance company or signing any legal documents.(215) 874-7072. Know your rights! Call Jeremy Weitz! And always select the Full Tort option when purchasing automobile insurance!
Jeremy M. Weitz
Attorney at Law
1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
10,000 Lincoln Drive East
One Greentree Centre
Marlton, NJ 08053
Phone: (215) 874-7072
Fax: (215) 545-6117
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