cars injury limitation on lawsuit
Nov 6, 2014 @ 07:52 PM - by broemersma
Is Full-Tort Auto Insurance Coverage Worth the Extra Money?
By Jason D. Briel, Esq.
When you are purchasing automobile insurance, the insurance carrier should offer you the choice between the full tort option (known as zero threshold in NJ) and the limited tort option (known as the verbal threshold in NJ). There is a much bigger difference between the two options than just a larger annual premium when you select the full tort option.
The limited tort option is the cheaper choice and people often take this option based on that alone. However, in the event you are involved in an accident, the limited tort option, in both PA and NJ, only allows you to recover for out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical bills and property damage. If you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, you are unable to make a claim for pain and suffering unless you are able to overcome a statutory threshold. In Pennsylvania, you must prove you have suffered a "serious" injury, but the term "serious" is loosely defined and difficult to establish. Pain alone will not overcome the threshold. The injury must affect your life in a very significant manner. In New Jersey, you must prove that you have suffered a permanent injury, which may be established with the certification of one of your treating physicians, but many doctors are reluctant to certify a person is permanently injured. Furthermore, the physician's certification does not guarantee you will recover for your pain and suffering. The problem with the limited tort option is most of the most painful injuries suffered in an automobile accident involve soft tissue injuries, such as spinal disc protrusions and herniations. Most individuals with these injuries are unable to recover for their intense and long endured pain.
The full tort option allows you to recover for out-of-pocket expenses along with your pain and suffering, provided you are not at fault for the accident. There are no thresholds to overcome with regards to the severity of your injury.
Now that you understand the basic differences between limited tort and full tort coverage, besides just their price difference, be sure to weigh the options carefully. A dollar saved now may leave you in an unenviable situation later.
THE FOREGOING IS A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY