Drivers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are required to have insurance coverage. However, unless you've been involved in an accident, you may be unsure what your policy covers, if they will pay for your damages, and what ‘personal injury protection' (PIP) insurance is. It is important to understand what PIP is in Philadelphia because it can affect how you are compensated after an injury accident.
No Fault Car Insurance in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania requires drivers to have a minimum level of financial responsibility to operate a vehicle. Most people buy auto insurance to provide financial responsibility in the case of an accident. There is a minimum level of liability coverage drivers need for bodily injury ($15,000/$30,000 total per accident), property damage liability ($5,000 total per accident), and first party benefits. First party benefits provide medical benefits, with a minimum liability coverage of $5,000.
Individuals can purchase much higher liability protection limits; however greater coverage usually results in higher insurance premiums. Insurance companies also offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This a supplemental option to cover you if you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries. You may want to talk to your insurance company if you have questions about your level of coverage.
Some states require some type of no-fault car insurance coverage, including Washington D.C., Utah, Hawaii, New Jersey, Kansas, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Pennsylvania has an optional no-fault insurance option. No-fault insurance provides personal injury protection regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Anyone who is injured in an auto accident with PIP insurance can receive first party benefits from their own insurance company, even if they are at fault.
Pennsylvania is a hybrid no-fault liability state. Drivers have the option to purchase PIP insurance, but it is not required. For example, if two drivers have PIP insurance and get into an accident with each other, each would be covered by their own insurance policy. Each driver could seek coverage for their injuries, no matter who caused the accident. However, if one driver has the more traditional insurance policy, and they were at-fault for the accident, the other driver may be able to sue them to recover damages.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Options
If you are injured in an accident, you may want to seek recovery for your damages through filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits involving multiple parties and insurance companies can be complicated. You should talk to an attorney with experience handling personal injury lawsuits. They will be able to explain your options, and how to go about seeking to recover compensation for your injuries. They may offer a free initial consultation and take your case on a contingency basis, so you don't have to pay anything out-of-pocket.
Drivers in Pennsylvania also have the option to have full tort coverage, or limited tort coverage. Limited tort coverage limits what the driver can sue for if they take their case to court. Full tort coverage retains the ability to seek full economic and non-economic damages; however, full tort coverage also has a higher insurance premium.
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit are usually categorized as economic and non-economic. Economic damages include lost wages, medical bills, medication costs, and damage to your property. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering and loss of consortium. These damages can be more complicated to quantify, and it is usually up to the jury to decide how much to allocate for pain and suffering. Non-economic damages can be very significant in a personal injury claim.
With limited tort coverage, an individual cannot recover for non-economic damages, unless they suffered “serious injury.” A serious injury is defined as an injury resulting in death, disfigurement, or serious impairment of a body function. Some neck or back injuries may not be considered serious enough under the law to allow for recovery of non-economic damages.
Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys
If you were injured in an accident, contact the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian to get the help you need. We will deal with the insurance companies and other drivers so you can focus on your recovery. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys have years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases in Philadelphia, for clients like you. Contact our office today for a free consultation.