What is Full and Limited Tort?

When you’re shopping around for a car insurance policy that fits your lifestyle and your budget, there are a lot of different coverage options that can impact your decision-making. Though many of the available options may seem like unnecessary costs upfront, your choices can have serious consequences if you get into an auto accident down the line.

Tort policies can seem complex initially, but understanding how they’re used and what they cover is essential for ensuring you’re appropriately compensated in the event of a car accident. In this post, Erie Injury lays out everything you need to know about full and limited tort policies.

Understanding Tort Law and Coverages

Before you can decide what type of car insurance policy is best for you, it’s critical to understand the basics of tort law. Tort law is the legislation that protects and compensates people who have been injured by an act of negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing. It also covers those who have been harmed by unsafe or defective products.

A tort, then, is an act or omission that causes injury or harm to another person or persons in a way that suggests some amount of liability. Typically, torts are separated into three distinct categories:

  1. Intentional torts: suggests purposeful wrongdoing that causes harm or injury to a person or their property
  2. Negligent torts: harm caused by a failure to follow rules and procedures that have been put in place to prevent or reduce instances of injury
  3. Strict liability torts: direct harm caused by the use of a defective or malfunctioning product

Tort insurance is a popular system of auto coverage and spans 38 states, including Pennsylvania. Within this system, at-fault drivers are responsible for paying damages and medical costs for the other party via their liability coverage. Depending on the policy, damages covered under tort law can include:

  • Vehicle damage
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Potential future costs

Tort policies run counter to the no-fault system, which requires drivers to purchase insurance for themselves and any passengers in the car. Additionally, drivers who carry no-fault policies must hold liability coverage for any damages done to other drivers, their passengers, or vehicles.

What is Full Tort Coverage?

In Pennsylvania, full tort coverage means that, if injured in an accident, you can sue the at-fault driver for all damages, including non-monetary ones. Typically, full tort comes with the additional option to sue for pain and suffering.

Of course, extended coverage means a slightly higher monthly premium, but not by much. With a six-month policy, full tort ranges from an additional $80 – $115 spread over the course of that period. That said, the monthly difference in cost is actually just a few dollars.

Though it can seem enticing to forgo full tort coverage in favor of a lower monthly premium, you could be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars in the case of a serious car accident.

How is ‘Pain and Suffering’ Calculated?

Pain and suffering—the legal term for physical and emotional stress caused by an injury—is calculated by a lawyer after an accident to ensure fair compensation. There are two main ways to calculate pain and suffering; the multiple method and the per diem method.

  • Multiple method: After all medical bills are finalized, the total dollar amount is multiplied by a factor of 1.5-5. This range leaves space to account for the nuances of the accident, including the degree to which the other party was at fault, severity of injuries, and more.
  • Per diem method: This kind of calculation assigns a dollar amount to each day a person is injured and multiples that amount by the number of days the injuries persist.

In these instances, having a lawyer work through your case is essential for ensuring fair coverage. Insurance companies will work hard to deny pain and suffering compensation, so having a seasoned professional by your side can help make sure you don’t fall victim to an unfair payout.

What is Limited Tort Coverage?

Limited tort coverage generally does not allow an injured person to sue for pain and suffering. Instead, drivers can only sue for pain and suffering if the sustained injuries or harm were severe. Some examples of when limited tort would likely cover pain and suffering include:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Serious impairment of bodily function(s)

Essentially, limited tort only covers money lost as a direct result of the accident. In this situation, both parties’ legal teams and insurance companies diligently track funds to come up with the exact repayment plan. Settlements typically result in an exchange of exact dollar amounts relative to any medical bills or vehicle damages.

Which Option is Best for Me?

Though it may be tempting to opt for limited tort coverage and save yourself a few dollars on your monthly auto insurance premium, you could be losing out on tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) in the long run.

Full tort coverage is the only way to ensure you are compensated at the highest possible amount in the event of a car accident. Particularly, if you care for any dependents, are the primary source of income in your household, or undergo serious emotional damages as a result of an accident, full tort coverage can ensure that you are adequately paid to relieve some of the undue burdens.

Consult a Tort Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact a lawyer immediately to better understand your policy coverage and what options are available to you. Hiring a trusted professional will not only give you the peace of mind that the compensation you’ll receive is fair, but it will give you the freedom to focus on healing while we handle your case.

What Types of Personal Injuries Does Your Firm Handle?

Law firms come in all sizes, practice types, and legal focuses. To ensure more effective representation, the attorneys at Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Larger (Erie Injury) focus on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security Disability cases.

From car accidents to product liability claims, we’re your go-to source when someone or something hurt you and you need representation. If you or a family member has suffered a personal injury, read on to learn more about Erie Injury’s services, the benefits of working with focused firm, and our core values.

About Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Larger (ErieInjury.com)

Since 1985, we’ve been helping victims in Northwestern Pennsylvania seek compensation for their injuries. Our dedication to our clients has allowed our firm to solidify its place as a regional leader.

To ensure the best service and highest probability of recovery for our clients, we focus on only three case types: personal injuries, workers’ compensation, and Social Security Disability. The reason we chose these three areas is because injuries often overlap more than one of those case types. Rather than send clients to multiple attorneys, Erie Injury can handle it all in-house. While there are so many ways injuries may occur, here are some of the most frequent types of cases we work on:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

If it transports people or goods and hurts you or a loved one in the process, chances are good this case will fall under a motor vehicle/auto accident. At Erie Injury, we find compensation for people recovering from injuries caused by vehicles:

2.2 million people a year suffer from injuries related to car accidents. In Pennsylvania alone, there are more than 100,000 crashes a year. If you suspect another driver’s negligence caused your injuries, we strongly urge you to speak with a lawyer before speaking with a claims adjuster. Beyond typical vehicle collisions, Erie Injury frequently works on:

  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Hit-and-runs
  • Uninsured & underinsured driver cases
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents

Wrongful Death

There are few, if any, events in life more difficult than losing a loved one. When a family member dies because of a person or company’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, this situation is called a wrongful death. In the case of wrongful death, our attorneys will help your family get the compensation to which you are entitled under Pennsylvania law, which may include:

– Estate administration expenses
– Funeral expenses
– Loss of the family relationship
– Lost earnings and wages
– Lost future earning capacity
– Medical bills
– Pain and suffering
– Punitive damages

Please know that Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations typically requires you to file a wrongful death suit within two years of a family member’s death. Therefore, it’s essential to act quickly and hire an attorney who focuses on wrongful death cases.

Work-Related Accidents

If you’re injured at work in Pennsylvania, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier should pay for your medical bills and lost wages. Unfortunately, hiring a lawyer is often necessary to make sure you are compensated fairly. While it’s challenging to think about what to do after you’ve been injured, it’s vital that you:

  • Report your work injury to your supervisor
  • File an incident report within 120 days
  • Receive medical treatment
  • Document everything
  • Find out how much your weekly benefits will be
  • Find an attorney

Even if you’re currently receiving workman’s comp, it’s possible you’re being underpaid. If you’ve been injured on the job and you can’t go back, make sure you find representation.

Product Liability

Every year, millions of people are injured by dangerous and defective products. Whether these injuries occur at home or work, it’s critical to contact an experienced injury attorney. For more than 30 years, the experts at Erie Injury have been handling defective product litigation cases. From crushed limbs to severe burns, we’ve dealt with a wide range of cases.

Product liability cases can be highly complex. Moreover, manufacturers often spend exorbitant amounts of money paying their lawyers to prevent being held liable for any damages. For these reasons, it’s critical to find a seasoned attorney who fights for you.

Slip and Falls

Whether ice and snow or slippery floors caused you harm, Erie Injury is well-equipped to handle slip-and-fall accidents. Much like in an auto accident, it’s critical that you contact a lawyer before you speak to an insurance adjuster. Insurance companies will try to minimize payouts as much as possible and could use your statements against you.

In conjunction with slip-and-falls, we also handle trip-and-falls. These cases typically occur when someone trips and falls because of uneven sidewalks, broken pavement, or dangerous stairs.

To create a comprehensive case, we’ll review local and uniform building codes, hire engineers, and speak with witnesses who might have previously reported the dangerous condition to the owners of the premises.

Dog Bites

Yes, they’re cute, but they can also be a source of serious injury. Dog bites often result in lacerations that require stitches and could leave permanent scarring. Yet, many people don’t realize that you can make a claim against the dog owner via their Homeowner’s Insurance to cover your injuries.

However, in Pennsylvania, liability for dog bites is not guaranteed. You need to prove negligence. Therefore, it’s helpful to hire an attorney who focuses in these types of injuries.

Attorneys with Core Values

As industry, technology, and law become increasingly complex, the axiom “a jack-of-all-trades is a master of none” continues to ring true. With a precise focus, we’re optimized to provide our clients with unrivaled guidance and better outcomes.

We serve people of all races, genders, sexual identities, religious backgrounds, body types, and socioeconomic statuses. However, we do not help drunk drivers. Furthermore, we do not represent insurance companies. By focusing our services and following our core beliefs, we ensure the best possible case for clients.

At Erie Injury, we strive to help people who can’t afford to hire an attorney. To make good on this goal, our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning we only charge a fee if we obtain a settlement or money judgment for our clients. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you earn a recovery for your injury, please reach out today.

Distracted Driving Accident Statistics and Prevention

PennDOT reports that there were 104,475 traffic crashes on Pennsylvania roads in 2020, killing more than 1,000 people and injuring more than 61,000. This equates to three people fatally injured each day, and one death every eight hours.

Distracted driving is a big factor in many of these fatal motor vehicle crashes. 

The NHTSA reports that in 2019, more than 3,000 people were killed in fatal distracted driving accidents, making it the cause of nearly 9 percent of all crash fatalities that year in the U.S. 

What qualifies as distracted driving?

Distracted is defined by the NHTSA as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”

Texting and driving is the biggest distraction and has the most potential for fatalities. Taking five seconds to send or read a text while driving at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.  

Dangers of distracted driving

It only takes a split second of driving distracted to permanently ruin someone’s life—including your own. From an injury there is no possibility of recovering from, to a fatality, the decision to drive distracted can be catastrophic. 

Teenagers and young adults are the most likely to engage in distracted driving. The CDC reports that 25 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were young adults aged 20–29, and drivers aged 15-19 were even more likely to be distracted than drivers aged 20 and older.

What should you do if you are injured by a distracted driver?

If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver in Pennsylvania, you might be entitled to punitive damages in addition to compensation. Our team of car accident attorneys represents car accident victims of distracted drivers and people who text while driving. We can help you recover your lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. Call our Pennsylvania Car Accident Law Firm for a free consultation at 814-452-6232.