The laws in Pennsylvania around auto insurance and auto accidents are intended to provide fair coverage of losses to those involved, ultimately providing a degree of financial stability in the face of misfortune. That said, accident litigation in PA has many quirks and nuances.
How so? The first thing to understand about accident litigation in Pennsylvania is that it offers the motorist options up front, even before there is an accident, including:
- PIP – Personal Injury Protection (PIP) can be purchased to cover medical expenses and lost wages. This is over and above basic drivers insurance.
- Tort threshold insurance, full vs. limited – With the “full” version of coverage, you can sue for economic losses (damage to vehicle, medical/healthcare) and non-economic losses (pain and suffering). “Limited” coverage excludes non-economic losses.
- Arbitration due to an uninsured motorist – Through a private arbitration system, you may need to place all claims against your own insurer if the other driver was under- or uninsured.
Adding to the complexity, as a choice-no-fault state, if both drivers maintain full tort threshold insurance, they can sue each other for non-economic damages. Pennsylvania is part of the few “financial responsibility states” that provide for this option. The state also penalizes drivers with suspended driving privileges for three months if there is a lapse in insurance coverage.
In total, this complexity of rules accomplishes what it should – if you have an accident, you should not suffer a catastrophic financial burden in addition to any physical injuries. This complexity also makes it advisable for you to work with an attorney in an accident’s aftermath. The firm of at Nass Cancelliere., of Philadelphia, has extensive experience with auto accidents and can help.