If you live in Pennsylvania, it’s essential to understand the types of auto insurance laws you will have to follow. Is Pennsylvania a no-fault state? Yes, it is. But what should you expect if you get into an auto accident in the state?
Understanding fault and no-fault laws is vital when it comes to getting coverage for bodily injury and property damage. At Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers, our car accident lawyers serving the Philadelphia area strive to ensure you receive the legal help you need for your insurance claims.
Is Pennsylvania a No-Fault State?
Something every Pennsylvania driver needs to understand is that this is one of the few states in the United States that has a no-fault insurance system. No-fault insurance in Pennsylvania means that liability in a vehicle accident is not always the deciding factor. Both parties involved in the accident are responsible for seeking compensation from their insurance company, even if one of them was at fault.
When you look at no-fault versus at-fault state laws, this is going to have a big impact on the insurance drivers need to have. Because Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, there are more extensive insurance laws that drivers are responsible for following.
This no-fault insurance system is very different from other states in the US that require the party who is at fault to provide compensation for the other involved party. It’s why Pennsylvania has strict auto insurance rules that ensure everyone has the coverage they need, but not always the coverage they should have.
Limited Tort Vs. Full Tort Insurance Options
There are several auto insurance options you can use to help you get the coverage you need in the case of a vehicle accident. One of the best options is a full tort, a comprehensive insurance option that provides more flexibility.
Full tort coverage gives you the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if you wish to receive compensation for a wider range of damages. This insurance option comes at a higher premium but allows you to get more compensation for things like medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other losses.
Limited tort coverage is self-explanatory — it doesn’t give you as much flexibility as a full tort.
This insurance coverage follows the no-fault system and doesn’t allow you to file a lawsuit to gain compensation for non-monetary damages like emotional distress. You would have to file a claim with your insurance provider to receive this kind of compensation.
The insurance option you choose will depend on the kind of compensation you want to be able to receive and the insurance you can currently afford.
What Insurance Requirements in Pennsylvania Exist for All Drivers?
Having the right insurance ensures you can cover any costs resulting from a vehicle accident. Here are some examples of the kind of insurance coverage you need to do this:
- Per person: Pennsylvania law requires drivers to have coverage of $15,000 per person in the case of a vehicle accident.
- Per accident: There is a $30,000 coverage limit per accident that applies if more than one person gets injured. This is the total amount your insurance company will cover for physical injuries from a single accident. Keep in mind that the $15,000 coverage per person limit still applies as the insurance will not go over this for one person.
- Property damage per accident: Pennsylvania insurance companies have a $5,000 property damage amount that they provide for damage to other involved parties. This only applies per accident as the insurance company will not provide more than this dollar amount.
How to File a Car Insurance Claim in Pennsylvania
If you have been in a vehicle accident, you need to take proactive steps to file an insurance claim with your insurance company. It’s what will ultimately help you to get compensation for physical damage and property damage.
Insurance companies will need proof before providing any kind of coverage for a vehicular accident. Because of this, you need to prepare photographs, medical records, and other types of evidence supporting your claim.
If you struggle to get the needed evidence, an attorney can help access documentation and compile a comprehensive report.
Determine the appropriate court
In Pennsylvania, you will usually need to file your insurance claim in the magisterial district court in the county where the accident happened or where the defendant resides. An attorney will know what court applies to your situation to avoid any errors that can waste time.
File the complaint
A complaint is when you outline the details of the accident and the reasons why you want reimbursement. This can include details like the damages you have suffered and the compensation you are looking for. Make sure you also include the other party’s name, address, and current contact information.
Serve the defendant
When you file your complaint, the court will provide you with a summons that you are responsible for serving on the defendant. You can usually do this with a process server, certified mail, or through a sheriff.
Prepare for the hearing
After you serve the defendant, the court date is set for the hearing, and you need to use this time to prepare. If you hire an attorney, they can organize the evidence, find witnesses, and find supporting documents to strengthen your claim.
The hearing will allow you to present your case and answer any questions that the judge may have. After the fact, the judge will render a judgment for either you or the defendant regarding who gets compensation.
Contact Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers for Help with Your Car Accident Case
Pennsylvania is one of the rare outliers that follows a no-fault insurance system for auto accidents. Because of this, you need to make sure you have the right kind of insurance coverage, and that you know your rights when it comes to getting compensation after an accident. Contact us today at Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers for a free case evaluation, or you reach out to us through our 24/7 line by calling 215-274-0173.