"Who Will Pay For My Car Accident in Pennsylvania?"
Western Pennsylvania Accident Attorney Explains How System Works
Car accidents in Pennsylvania can be confusing. And if you're not sure what to do after your crash, you could end up having to pay for your accident out of your own pocket - even if you didn't do anything wrong.
At the Gervelis Law Firm, we know what needs to be done to help accident victims get the money they rightfully deserve. That's because we know how Pennsylvania's legal system works, especially when it comes to car accidents. We gained this knowledge through years of handling complex car accidents throughout western Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania's 'choice no-fault' car insurance system
Pennsylvania has a unique legal system for dealing with compensating car accident victims: a "choice no-fault" auto insurance system. Under the "no-fault" system, accident victims file a claim with their own insurance company in most cases, no matter who was at fault.
But Pennsylvania is not strictly a "no-fault" state. Drivers can choose between "fault" or "no-fault" insurance coverage. That's because drivers in Pennsylvania can choose between "limited tort" and "full tort" insurance coverage.
'Full tort' vs. 'limited tort' insurance in Pennsylvania
The process for getting the compensation you need after an accident in Pennsylvania depends largely on the type of car insurance you have. Limited tort and full tort car insurance place different restrictions on what you can legally do after an accident.
- Limited tort insurance - This form of insurance allows you to file a lawsuit or take other legal action to obtain money only for accident-related medical expenses. You cannot file a lawsuit for other accident expenses unless you sustained a severe injury.
- Full tort insurance - This type of insurance allows you to take legal action and pursue compensation for all accident expenses regardless of the severity of your injuries. Full tort insurance often costs more, but it gives you the freedom to take legal action to get all the money you deserve for your crash.
Minimum insurance requirements in Pennsylvania
All drivers in Pennsylvania must have car insurance. The minimum amount of insurance coverage for vehicles registered and insured in Pennsylvania includes:
- $15,000 for injuries to one person
- $30,000 for all injuries per accident
- $5,000 for property damage
Another option available in Pennsylvania is to simply obtain $35,000 worth of insurance for all accident-related expenses.
All these figures might seem like a lot of money. But the reality is that many car accidents end up costing far more. In some cases, car accidents can add up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
Accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers
Some drivers in Pennsylvania ignore the state's mandatory car insurance law and drive on our roads without insurance. And if you're involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you might not know what to do to get the money you deserve for your crash.
The same is true if you're injured in an accident caused by an underinsured driver. This term is used to describe drivers who have insurance but don't have enough insurance coverage to pay for all accident-related expenses.
If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), you can simply file an accident claim with your own insurance company. Such coverage is designed to compensate people involved in:
- Accidents with uninsured driver
- Accidents with underinsured driver
- Hit-and-run car accidents
If you do not have UIM coverage, there might be other options available to get compensation for your accident. But such cases can be exceptionally complicated. That's why it's critical that you contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash.
What can I be compensated for after my auto accident?
You probably think your accident-related expenses only involve expenses immediately after your crash. This could include emergency medical expenses and the cost of repairing or replacing your car. But that's often just the beginning.
In many cases, you may be paying for your accident for months or years afterwards. You and your family could even potentially feel the financial impact of a serious or fatal car accident for the rest of your lives. Such expenses can include:
- Emergency medical care immediately after crash
- Follow-up medical care in future
- Surgical operations
- Physical therapy
- Lost income during recovery
- Lost future income if you or a loved one cannot return to work
- Funeral expenses if a loved one died in a car accident
- Modifications to your house if you sustained a permanent injury
- In-home nursing care
- Hiring someone to help with domestic chores
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Many other expenses can also apply to your accident throughout your lifetime. That's why it's critical that you take into account all your accident-related expenses when you're obtaining compensation for your crash. And that's where we can help.
How we can help you
Often, insurance companies make a settlement offer soon after your accident. Such offers might seem reasonable. But that's because they only cover accident expenses right after your accident.
What many people don't realize is if they agree to accept such an offer, they forfeit their right to demand any additional compensation from the insurance company in the future. And future accident expenses can add up to thousands or even millions of dollars.
We know how to negotiate with insurance companies and win. We understand their strategies and we're not afraid to take them to court if necessary to get you the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact our law firm right now and learn how we can help you.