While car insurance plays a crucial role in the filing injury claim, the particulars of each case can vary from state to state. Most states use either a fault or no-fault system, but Pennsylvania takes a hybrid approach. This significantly impacts how claims are handled after a collision.
What Are Fault & No-Fault States?
Fault-based states determine liability based on the percentage of responsibility each party had in causing the accident. The person with the higher percentage is often the one responsible for covering any costs associated with the incident. The victim needs to prove that the other driver bears more, if not all, responsibility for the collision. If the victim isn’t able to collect damages from the other driver’s insurance company, they can file a lawsuit against the individual directly.
In no-fault states, each party is required to work with their own insurance company and is unable to file an injury claim against the other party, regardless of who caused the accident. Some no-fault states also have thresholds that the severity of the victim’s injuries must meet before they qualify for compensation.
Your Options for Opting In or Out
Pennsylvania uses a system that gives drivers the option between full tort and limited tort coverage.
In selecting full tort coverage, the insured opts out of the no-fault system and must prove that the other driver was responsible to recover damages. With full tort coverage, a collision victim can also seek damages for injuries, wage loss, pain and suffering and other financial losses from the at-fault driver.
With limited tort, the insured driver opts in and seeks benefits from their own auto insurer after a collision, regardless of fault. While the insurance premiums are slightly lower if you choose limited tort, you waive or give up the right to seek pain and suffering damages from the at-fault driver, unless you fall within a few exceptions to limited tort, including the serious injury threshold.
It is important that you understand your selections, as you may limit yourself from seeking damages such as pain and suffering.
If you were recently hurt in an accident and are considering filing an injury claim against the liable party, talk to the professionals at Stine & Associates, P.C. in Greensburg, PA. For over 20 years, they have helped clients successfully navigate the complexities of the legal system. Visit their website to learn more about their practice, and call (724) 837-0160 to schedule a consultation today.