What is Tort Coverage in Car Insurance?
<lingo>First instituted by the state of Pennsylvania, full tort and limited tort automobile insurance options were initially designed to reduce the amount of pain and suffering lawsuits in the state. This was enacted in the form of mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage, which pays for the medical bills of drivers involved in an accident, no matter who was at fault. The idea was that reducing the number of pain and suffering lawsuits would reduce insurance company payouts, thus reducing insurance premiums. Drivers can choose between full tort, which allows you to sue for pain and suffering, or limited tort, which means you forfeit your right to compensation for pain and suffering.</lingo>
Tort Insurance Explained
Tort is a legal term that refers to a wrongful act that infringes on another person's rights and leads to civil legal liability. In this context, it means that the person you were involved in an accident with can sue you for any damaged he or she incurred as a result of the accident, including pain and suffering. Full tort means the covered individual can sue in court for all damages, while limited tort "limits" the driver's ability to sue for pain and suffering. Full tort coverage would only apply in a situation where the driver or passenger(s) has been injured in an accident that is not the driver's fault. All victims covered under full tort insurance would be able to sue for property damage, pain and suffering, unpaid medical bills, and loss of income.
<twitter>Full tort coverage would only apply in a situation where the driver or passenger(s) has been injured in an accident that is not the driver's fault.</twitter>
So, why would someone opt for limited tort coverage, effectively eliminating their right to sue for legitimate losses? Typically because it's cheaper. Drivers who opt for limited tort often save approximately 15% in insurance premiums each year. Limited tort may not apply to certain "serious injuries," which include death, deformity, or impairment of bodily functions. However, an insurance company is likely to deny a claim of pain and suffering, even for an injury as seemingly serious as a broken bone or herniated disc, if the victim was covered only by limited tort insurance.
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