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Can I Get Pain and Suffering Damages if I Have a Car Accident and Have Limited Tort?

In Pennsylvania, you have the option to choose full or limited tort. Limited Tort puts restrictions on your right to recover pain and suffering damages but you can still get them depending on the circumstances.
When you apply for or renew your car insurance in Pennsylvania, you are given the option to choose either "full tort" or "limited tort". Despite the fact that the accident is the fault of the other driver, your "tort" option choice affects your rights to recover against the other driver's insurance company. With full tort, you have no restrictions on your rights to recover pain and suffering (also called bodily injury) damages.
If you have limited tort, you have to have a "serious injury". There is no exact test to tell if you've had a serious injury. It is decided on a case by case basis and depends on: how long you need medical treatment, what type of injuries you have, how the injuries affect your daily life and daily activities.

The best thing to do is to choose full tort or call your agent to request to change to full tort. However, if you've already been in a car accident and have limited tort, you are stuck with it for purposes of making a claim for that accident. (It goes by your insurance coverage on the date of the accident).

Exceptions to Limited Tort

If the other driver's vehicle was registered out-of-state (that is, any other state besides Pennsylvania), voila, you have an exception and limited tort won't apply to you claim against the other driver's insurance.

If you were driving or a passenger in a "non-private" vehicle, you will be full tort. For example, if you have limited tort on your policy but you were a passenger in someone else's vehicle which was a commercial or business vehicle, that is another exception to limited tort.

If the at-fault driver was convicted or pleaded guilty to a DUI or was placed onto ARD for the DUI, that is an exception.

If you were hit by a car as a pedestrian, even if you auto insurance policy was limited tort, you will be full tort for this accident.

Overcoming Limited Tort

It is important to go to the doctor if you are experience medical injuries. If it is affecting your daily life, you may want to ask people you know you to be witnesses. You should follow your doctor's advice about treatment. If you continue to have medical injuries and it continues to affect your daily life, then the odds become more likely that you have suffered a "serious injury"

Still Entitled to Economic Damages

Even if you have limited tort, limited tort only applies to the pain and suffering portion of your claim. You have no restrictions on your rights to recover for economic damages such as: property damage to your car, medical bills, wage loss, co-pays, etc.