Should I select full tort or limited-tort on my automobile liability policy?

People often think they are giving up their right to sue for personal injuries sustained in an automobile accident if they select the limited-tort option on their Auto liability insurance policy. This is not true. In Pennsylvania it is illegal to drive an automobile without liability insurance. Auto insurance can be expensive, so consumers face a confusing choice when purchasing auto insurance. Should I select full tort, which will increase my premium, but limit my ability to recover for injuries sustained in an accident? Should I spend a few extra bucks to protect myself in case someone wrecks into me?

Here’s how the law breaks down in Pennsylvania. When you select limited-tort you can still recover all medical and out-of-pocket expenses and other economic damages. However, you may not recover monies for pain and suffering due to personal injury unless you have suffered "serious injury" The term "serious injury" is defined as a personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment of a body function, or permanent disfigurement. The jury decides whether a client’s injuries meet the definition of "serious injury". In deciding whether the plaintiff has suffered serious injury the jury is to consider the following: (1) the extent of the impairment, (2) the length of time the impairment has lasted, and, (3) the treatment required to correct the impairment. The jury is instructed that the focus of these inquiries in not on the injuries themselves, but on how the injuries affected a particular body function. A good lawyer will obtain his client’s medical records and will make a compelling argument that his client’s injuries meet the criteria under Pennsylvania law to permit his or her client to sue for the pain and suffering associated with the client’s personal injuries. Moreover, if a person with limited-tort auto insurance makes a claim, without an attorney, the insurance company will often reject the claim out of hand. Accordingly, if you have limited-tort, be sure to hire an attorney familiar with the law and the insurance companies to see if you have a compensable injury. You just might!

Taking the above into consideration it is easy to make an argument to save money on your auto premiums and select limited-tort. By selecting limited-tort you haven’t given up your right to sue, you have simply selected into a class of potential auto accident victims that have suffered injuries that are worth compensation, in the eyes of your potential jurors.