IF I OWN AN UNINSURED VEHICLE, CAN I RECOVER FOR MY INJURIES?
Owning a registered uninsured motor vehicle does have a direct impact on your personal injury claim. Even though you may not have been at fault for an accident, simply owning a vehicle without insurance could prevent you from making a recovery for your injuries. However, the full impact of owning a registered uninsured motor vehicle will vary depending on the type of coverage under which you make a claim.
The Pennsylvania law states “an owner of a currently registered private passenger motor vehicle who does not have financial responsibility shall be deemed to have chosen the limited tort alternative”.
Limited tort permits you to only recover for medical and other out-of-pocket expenses, but not for pain and suffering or other non-monetary damages unless the injuries suffered fall within the legal definition of “serious injury” or unless one of several exceptions applies.
With a currently registered uninsured vehicle, you have to prove that your injury meets the definition of a “serious injury” or that one of the other exceptions applies in order to prevail in making a recovery for your pain and suffering.
Limited tort is not applicable to pedestrians injured in motor vehicle accidents or if you are in another vehicle that you own which is insured. (Moreover, in the case of a registered uninsured vehicle, your right to recover medical expenses may be further limited as discussed below.)
First Party Claims
Owning a currently registered uninsured vehicle, also prohibits you from recovering first party benefits.
First party benefits consist of several benefits including:
- Medical benefit, which pays for your accident related treatment;
- Income loss benefit, which pays 80% of your loss of gross income while disabled;
- Accidental death benefit, which is a benefit paid to the personal representative of the insured should the injury from the motor vehicle accident cause death; and
- Funeral benefit, which would pay expenses related to the funeral of an individual who dies as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
If you own a registered vehicle with no insurance, you would be precluded from having your medical bills paid for by any motor vehicle insurance policy. Also, the insurance carrier for the at-fault driver would not consider your unpaid medical bills as part of your injury claim. However, there may be exceptions on a case by case basis, which would need to be discussed with your attorney.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Benefits Claims
Even if you own a registered uninsured vehicle, you are still eligible to make uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits claims.
A Word of Advice
If you canceled your insurance on your vehicle because you no longer use it, it is imperative that you turn your plates in to Harrisburg so that your vehicle is no longer registered. As long as your vehicle is not currently registered, you will not be penalized for not having it insured.
If you have been injured in an accident and have questions regarding your right to recover for your injuries call the Personal Injury Attorneys at Berger and Green for a free evaluation of your injury case.