Understand How Your Auto Insurance Policy Covers You After an Accident
If you have been involved in an accident, even if you are at fault, you may have concerns over what your auto insurance policy covers and if that is enough.
Filing a claim for your injuries after an auto accident will be dependent upon several factors including the options you have chosen on your own auto insurance policy.
Why Your Tort Option Matters
In Pennsylvania, you have the option to select either full tort or limited tort on your auto insurance policy. Choosing full or limited tort is one of the most important decisions you can make when selecting an automobile insurance policy.
If full tort coverage is purchased, and you were injured in an accident, you have the right to make a claim for not only lost wages and medical expense reimbursement, but also for pain and suffering no matter how minor your injuries are.
If you choose limited tort and are involved in an accident, but do not sustain what is considered to be a “serious impairment of bodily function”, you will not be eligible for pain and suffering damages, unless certain exceptions apply.
At Berger and Green, we strongly recommend that you choose full tort coverage.
When a Lawsuit Needs to Be Filed
Once you have determined you are eligible to file a claim for your injuries, the personal injury claim process will begin.
When you file a claim, you are submitting medical evidence to the negligent party’s insurance company. This involves negotiating until a settlement is reached and all parties have agreed it is adequate. If you hire an attorney, they will be handling the negotiating process for you.
Sometimes, an agreement cannot be reached, and a lawsuit needs to be filed. You have two years following an accident in which to settle the claim or file a lawsuit. This means if an agreement cannot be reached within that time you must file a lawsuit.
Keep in mind, not every lawsuit ends up in the courtroom. An experienced personal injury attorney can keep building your case while you wait for a hearing. During this time, it is common for the insurance company to continue making offers.
Once an offer is made that the claimant deems acceptable, the case will be closed and a hearing can be avoided. If it does not settle, a jury will hear the evidence, and decide what damages, if any, to award.
What If I am At Fault for the Accident?
If you were found at fault for the accident, you may be wondering if your auto insurance is enough to cover the costs.
The liability portion of your auto insurance is designed to cover the damages you have caused if you are found at fault.
If a claimant files a lawsuit after an accident, you will be named in the lawsuit. Your insurance company will provide you with an attorney, at their expense, to defend you against the claimant’s claim for damages, and your insurance company will pay those damages up to the limits of liability coverage you purchased. If a judgement is entered against you for an amount in excess of your coverage, you are personally liable for that portion of the judgment.
That is why it is important to make sure you have sufficient auto insurance coverage to pay for the damages you cause if you are at fault in an accident.
Recovering Compensation After an Accident:
If you were injured in an accident and have questions about your rights, contact the personal injury attorneys at Berger and Green. Our attorneys will provide you with a free no obligation consultation to evaluate your case.