Limited Tort Coverage in Pa. Auto Accident Injury Case

Date: November 3, 2011
Posted In: DLP Law
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          Jerry and Carol were traveling on Route 507 near Lake Wallenpaupack. Suddenly,  a car darted from a side road and struck Jerry\’s vehicle quite violently. Jerry had limited tort insurance coverage. While both he and Carol sustained broken bones and severe strains, they did recover from their injuries within six months after their accident.

            The driver of the vehicle that struck them was a licensed New Jersey driver and the coverage on his vehicle was in New Jersey. Jerry and Carol\’s own insurance for their medical coverage and lost wages was not enough to cover their damages. Jerry and Carol bought suit against the negligent New Jersey driver. That driver\’s attorney stated that the suit should be dismissed because of the fact that Jerry and Carol had limited tort which prevents them from suing unless their injuries had been more serious and permanent.

ISSUE:          Is the insurance company for the New Jersey driver correct?

ANSWER:     No. Since the negligent driver was not from the state of Pennsylvania and because his vehicle and he were both licensed and registered in the state of New Jersey, the limited tort law would not apply. Jerry and Carol would be allowed to sue as if they had full tort or the full right to sue regardless of the extent of their injuries and/or damages.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.