Pennsylvania Legal Questions: What is No-Fault Auto Accident Law?




auto accident law Pittsburgh, PA

When it comes to auto accident laws, Pennsylvania is neither a fault or no-fault state. Along with the insurance policies for cars, you will need someone with the legal experience and skill to navigate the system. For instance, the state allows a driver to decide whether they want to purchase full tort or limited tort coverage. Many people wonder which one is the most effective choice.

Choosing Fault or No-Fault Insurance

Pennsylvania is more of a hybrid state, also referred to as a “choice, no-fault” system for auto accident law. In a fault-based insurance state, victims of car accidents can recover for pain and suffering only after they successfully prove who was “at-fault” for the car accident.

This delay is caused by the insurance company, who will ultimately foot the bill for damages. This delay is due to the fact that proving who is at fault involves lots of finger-pointing, court delays, and sophisticated legal practices and maneuvers. In contrast, a no-fault insurance state, victims seek financial assistance through their own auto insurance companies and do not have to prove anything to receive money.

However, no-fault insurance laws are forced to stratify the amounts able to be paid to victims. Thus, although some of these injuries will qualify for an insurance claim, some victims cannot file personal injury claims unless they satisfy an increased threshold, such as loss of limb.  Regardless of the pros and cons of each, states are increasingly gravitating toward a no-fault insurance system given the delays associated with insurance companies and other litigation.

Pennsylvania Auto Accident Law: The Hybrid

Pennsylvania’s auto accident law pulls from both theories: fault and no-fault, which allows Pennsylvania citizens the choice when purchasing insurance policies.  Even though there are greater choices and variability, the resulting hybrid laws are very complicated, with a variety of pros and cons to each.

When Pennsylvania drivers purchase insurance, the state provides the available options of full or limited tort.  The full tort option means the Pennsylvania driver is opting out of Pennsylvania’s no-fault laws. If injured with full tort insurance, the driver can file a personal injury claim against the other driver.

In contrast, limited tort insurance may minimally save on the monthly cost to the insurance companies, but waive some of the available legal options available after a car accident, such as compensation any pain and suffering unless the driver suffers severe and serious injuries. Though this saves money in the short run, long-term compensation becomes unavailable for medical treatment or financial support. 

Find The Legal Representation You Need

Fortunately, even if a driver opts out for limited tort coverage Pennsylvania allows an injured victim who has incurred a severe and serious injury to seek compensation for pain and suffering. It can require an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney to assist you in determining if your claim qualifies. While advantages and disadvantages exist for both options, the decision on which insurance to purchase ultimately rests with the driver’s personal views and preferences for injuries. In other words, the insurance to purchase as a driver depends on whichever insurance option is most comforting while on the road.

Consultation with a lawyer about the benefits of either option is always beneficial. A professional lawyer can help to determine the most lucrative option when dealing with personal injuries. Do not wait until actually being involved in a car accident before asking the right questions.

Call (412) 804-4048 to schedule a consultation with Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law in our Pittsburgh office.

NOTE: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice

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Posted on: October 28, 2019 by Kim Bodnar