Motor Vehicle Accidents in Pennsylvania
There are tens of thousands of motor vehicle accidents each year in Pennsylvania. Many of these accidents result in serious injuries to the involved parties. If you or someone you know has suffered injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney for advice and investigation of a potential lawsuit to recover for your injuries.
Pennsylvania has enacted a law called the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law. This law requires all drivers in Pennsylvania to have a mandated-minimum of automobile insurance. We all see commercials for cheaper and minimum-coverage auto-insurance policies, but some of the selections made on your auto policy will determine the extent of your rights to sue for certain damages. Most importantly, selecting the “full tort” option on your auto policy will permit you to sue an at-fault driver for damages caused to you beyond standard medical bills and wage loss; full tort allows you to make claims of damages for pain and suffering, which often leads to much increased value in a personal injury claim. The “limited tort” option, which can often lead to a lower auto-insurance premium, limits the damages one can seek to wage loss and medical expenses. There are exceptions to limited tort, such as if the at-fault driver is under the influence, or if the at-fault driver is licensed out-of-state, or if the bodily injuries are extremely severe. When you choose the full-tort option, you do not need to hope that your particular case luckily falls into a limited-tort exception.
When we think about motor vehicle accident injuries and auto insurance, we often do so in the context of thinking of ourselves as the driver. But similar rules apply to passengers injured in a motor vehicle accidents and quite often passenger injuries are worse than those suffered by the driver. Injured passengers have the ability to sue for their injuries against whichever driver is determined to be at fault. Thus, it is often the case that a passenger will be able to sue the driver of the vehicle in which they were injured. However, the injured passenger’s own auto-insured status can have an impact on what damages can be pursued. Additional auto-insurance choices involve Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM). Selecting UM coverage on your auto policy will permit you to recover in the event that the at-fault driver has no auto insurance. UIM coverage on your auto policy allows you to recover additional amounts if your damages exceed the monetary limits of the at-fault driver’s auto policy. Choosing the correct insurance coverage can be very complicated and an experienced attorney should be contacted to discuss these issues in addition to any injury claims.
In addition to drivers and passengers, bystanders, such as pedestrians and bicyclists are often severely injured in motor vehicle accidents. It may be surprising, but a pedestrian or bicyclist injuries incurred from motor vehicle accidents are treated as auto accidents and one’s auto insurance will cover injuries received from the same. Importantly, for pedestrians and bicyclists, if the motor vehicle driver is deemed to be at fault, then regardless of the injured party’s tort designation, he/she will be able to sue the at-fault driver in full tort and seek damages for pain & suffering, disfigurement, future earnings lost, in addition to wage loss and medical. Given that pedestrians and bicyclists are permitted to sue in full tort, these cases can often have greater value than would originally be expected.
If you have questions about any type of injury, please feel free to contact Attorney Signe Rudberg or Don Rudberg at Rudberg Law Offices in Pittsburgh. Know Your Rights! Protect Your Rights!