Full Tort vs Limited Tort – Knowing the Difference

February 17th, 2023

photo of two cars that got into an accident

After you’ve been injured in a car crash, you may have significant losses: inability to work, persistent pain and physical limitations, and substantial financial effects. However, many people are surprised they may not be able to receive any compensation for all the physical effects of their injury.

In Pennsylvania and many other states, your ability to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for your pain and suffering often depends on whether you’ve chosen full or limited tort on your insurance policy. If you want to protect your rights, you must learn the difference between the two.

What’s the difference between full tort and limited tort?

In Pennsylvania, insurance companies created limited tort coverage to limit whether car accident victims can sue for pain and suffering. Though limited tort policies cost less, you give up many critical legal rights when you select them. Those losses can be tens of thousands of dollars, far outweighing the hundreds of dollars you may save on your insurance premium.

To protect your rights when you’re injured, selecting the “full tort” option is vitally important. Take a look at how the two coverage options compare.

Full Tort

Driver must not be at fault.

Can recover losses for out-of-pocket medical expenses, wage losses, and property damage.

Can always recover losses for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life’s pleasures.

No need to prove a “serious injury” to be eligible to recover non-economic damages.

Limited Tort

Driver must not be at fault.

Can recover losses for out-of-pocket medical expenses, wage losses, and property damage.

Can recover any non-economic damages in many cases.

Must prove “serious injury” or other exception to limited tort to be able to recover non-economic losses.

There are a few exceptions to limited tort coverage. If a drunk driver injures you, you are a passenger in a commercial vehicle, or a person operating a vehicle registered out of state injures you, you retain your full legal rights. Otherwise, a person with limited tort must prove a “serious injury” to recover for their non-economic losses, which can be a difficult hurdle to overcome.

If you’re a Pennsylvania driver who gets in an accident in the state, whichever coverage you have — full or limited tort — will be in effect. However, if Pennsylvania drivers are involved in an out-of-state accident, you may be subject to that state’s policies. These policies could potentially eliminate your full tort option leaving Pennsylvania drivers with a limited tort option.

Adam Flager sat down with Steve Gannon of the Gannon Insurance Agency to discuss the differences between Full and Limited Tort Auto Insurance.

The Gannon Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency that has been providing quality coverage, superior value, and personal service to its customers since 2000.

How to Choose Between Full and Limited Tort

When it comes time to review or choose a new auto insurance policy, it’s best to select full tort coverage. Though you may be able to save money off your premium with limited tort, you can wind up with much more significant losses — which you aren’t able to recover any money for — if you can’t overcome the difficult “serious injury” threshold.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Flager & Associates today by calling (215) 953-5200. We provide free case evaluations.

Adam Flager, Esq., Associate at Flager & AssociatesWritten by Adam D. Flager, Esq., Associate at Flager & Associates, PC

With his practice focused on litigation, Adam primarily represents clients in personal injury cases, such as motor vehicle, slip and fall, defective products, and construction and worksite accidents. He is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the State of New Jersey, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey, and the United States Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit. Adam received his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in 2009, where he graduated with pro-Bono Distinction.

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