Many people in Washington County may not think much about the options they have for their car insurance, so long as the insurance is enough to keep them legal to drive on Pennsylvania’s roads.

However, people should think carefully about the many options that Pennsylvania offers drivers who need insurance, as the choices they make can spell the different between being able to receive adequate compensation after an accident and not being able to do so.

Like a handful of other states, Pennsylvania is a strong no-fault state. What this means is that everyone in Pennsylvania carries insurance which will cover their medical bills and some of their lost wages should they be in an accident.

These first-party benefits are available on a no-fault basis, meaning an injured person gets them even if they driver of their car was responsible for the motor vehicle accident.

While these first-party benefits are of course helpful, they do not always pay for everything. In such cases, a person may sue the responsible driver in order to recover additional compensation.

How much they can sue for will depend on whether they purchased limited tort or full tort insurance:

Limited tort

Someone who chooses the limited tort option is able to seek additional compensation from a negligent driver, beyond what their own insurance company pays in first-party benefits, for any outstanding out-of-pocket costs like medical bills and lost wages.

However, the person may not seek compensation for so-called nonmonetary damages, including their pain and suffering the accident, except in very limited circumstances.

Limited tort may cost a bit less since it covers less. However, the trade-off is that a person does not really get compensated for the cost of their time and trouble that will no doubt experience, sometimes for months or even years after an accident.

It’s hard to put an exact dollar figure on a person’s pain or inconvenience, but that does not mean that the damage is not real.

Full tort

A Southwestern Pennsylvania resident who purchases full tort coverage may pay a little extra for the insurance, but he or she reserves the right, in all cases, to pursue a negligent driver for all of their damages not covered by first-party benefits, including pain and suffering and other damages that might be hard to put a dollar value on.

Many people injured in an accident are thankful that they chose full tort coverage.