Does My Car Insurance Cover Personal Injury Claims in Philadelphia?
Following a car accident that left you injured, one of the most daunting parts of recovery is dealing with a personal injury claim. Since Pennsylvania follows the no-fault auto insurance system, you will need to file your claim against your own car insurance policy and not the other driver’s insurance policy, regardless of which party caused the accident.
And yes, your own car insurance policy in Pennsylvania will cover personal injury claims. However, depending on your specific damages, it might not be able to cover all of them. This is why understanding the state’s auto insurance and personal injury laws is very crucial.
Auto Insurance Requirements for Drivers in Philadelphia
The following are the required auto insurance coverage required in Pennsylvania:
- Medical Benefits – Also called PIP or personal injury protection, this covers the policyholder and others covered under the insurance plan, regardless of fault. $5,000 is the minimum coverage limit.
- Bodily Injury Liability – This covers the medical-related expenses and other damages incurred by other parties that the policyholder injured in a car accident. $15,000 is the minimum coverage limit for one injured party and $30,000 is the minimum limit for total compensation available per one auto accident.
- Property Damage Liability – This pays for damage to another driver/party’s property in an auto accident caused by the policyholder. $5,000 is the minimum coverage limit.
What You Should Know About Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Auto Insurance System
According to state law, when individuals sustain car accident-related injuries, their auto insurance providers, regardless of fault, must pay their medical expenses. However, what if the injured individual sustains life-altering and catastrophic injuries and the accident was not their fault?
Fortunately, depending on the exact type of auto insurance that you have, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against someone beyond your medical expenses. But first, you need to determine if you have a full tort or limited tort coverage policy.
When you have limited tort coverage, your compensation for auto accident-associated medical expenses should be paid by your auto insurance company. Limited tort coverage, however, doesn’t enable policyholders to claim pain and suffering damages resulting from the accident. On the other hand, recovering damages for pain and suffering is possible if your injuries are serious enough. These injuries are those that result in some sort of serious and/or permanent cognitive or physical impairment.
Policyholders with full tort coverage could bypass the no-fault auto insurance rules. They are entitled to pursue pain and suffering damages, even if their damages are lower than requirements or limits on limited tort coverage plans.
Claiming Noneconomic Damages with a Limited Tort Coverage Policy
Some auto accidents leave injured victims with more than just physical scars. They could also leave emotional and mental scars that could potentially last for life. In states that follow the fault-based auto insurance system, auto accident victims can seek non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, from the party that caused the accident. As mentioned earlier, however, the no-fault auto insurance system could make seeking noneconomic damages very difficult.
While having full tort coverage bypasses the no-fault auto insurance system and can allow injured victims to claim non-economic damages from at-fault parties, this type of auto insurance can be very costly and unreasonable for some. Depending on the specific circumstances of the auto accident, injured parties could seek noneconomic damages even if they only have limited tort coverage.
When the auto accident results in serious injuries, as defined under state law, they could file a claim against the at-fault party for negligence. Factors that courts use to determine the seriousness or severity of injuries include:
- The severity of the injured victim’s impairment
- Whether the impairment is temporary or permanent
- How much treatment the victim required or will require to recover
- Other personal factors that could contribute to the injury’s severity
In addition, while damages for pain and suffering are subjective and will significantly differ from one case to another, they may sometimes be severe enough to warrant compensation, even for injured victims who only have limited tort auto insurance coverage.
For instance, if your physical and mental pain and suffering negatively affected your quality of life after the accident, the court could consider this as a serious impairment. But you will need to demonstrate exactly how the accident and injuries have impacted your quality of life for the court to award you pain and suffering damages.
Reach Out to an Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
While your car insurance coverage would cover personal injury claims, depending on how much damages you have suffered, it might not be enough to cover all your losses. If you are uncertain about your personal injury claim, get in touch with Mattiacci Law, LLC today. You can discuss your case with our skilled Philadelphia personal injury lawyer by calling 215-709-7915 or contacting us online.