As I mentioned in our last post, many clients who come to DLP for help after becoming victims of auto accident through no fault of their own have chosen the “limited tort/limited coverage” option on their auto insurance policies. They have given up their right to recover for pain and suffering unless they suffered serious bodily injury. Proving a serious bodily injury can be difficult. Are these clients all out of luck? Can they recover? Are there exceptions?
The answer to the above questions is YES. Initially, what constitutes a serious bodily injury is different and unique to each client. A seemingly minor hand injury to a violinist may be considered a serious injury if it keeps he or she from performing. A back injury that may not seem too severe to someone else may be a serious injury to a stone mason or other trades person involved in heavy lifting. It all depends on what your doctors are saying and the limitations that a client suffers due to the injury caused by the accident. Every case is different!
There are also EXCEPTIONS by law to limited tort/limited coverage. If a drunk or drugged driver causes an accident and pleads guilty, is convicted or is accepted into an ARD program, the client has full coverage and can recover for any pain and suffering no matter how serious. Likewise, if the car or truck that causes the accident is registered in another state other than Pennsylvania full coverage applies. Note; if the DRIVER is from out of state but is driving a Pennsylvania registered car there is NO exception. If a client is struck by a car as a pedestrian, riding a bike or on a motorcycle they all have full coverage even if they chose limited tort. Finally, if you are a passenger in a taxi, a bus, Uber, Lyft, or any commercial vehicle, you are entitled to full coverage.
Lastly, even if the limited tort/limited coverage option applies to you following an accident, you may not recover for pain and suffering but you can always recover any ECONOMIC loses such as unpaid medical bills, lost wages, any out of pocket expenses and the like. Payment for damage to your car is unaffected by the limited tort/limited coverage option.
Of course all of this can be very complicated for a client recently involved in a car or truck crash that was no fault of their own. Clearly the sooner one seeks legal advice the better they will understand their legal rights. The attorneys at Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP are here to help. Remember— Injury? Call DLP! (570) C-A-L-L-D-L-P