Fortunately in most states (including Pennsylvania), there are laws in place that require a certain amount of auto insurance. In Pennsylvania, drivers must have:
- Medical benefits: minimum $5,000 in coverage;
- Bodily injury liability: minimum $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident;
- Property damage liability: minimum $5,000 coverage; and
- Full or limited tort coverage: limited tort allows you to recover all out-of-pocket medical and other expenses, full tort allows you to retain an unrestricted right to bring suit against a negligent party, including payments for pain and suffering.
Even with these laws in place, there will always be drivers that do not comply with these requirements. Indeed, according to a recent report in the Guardian, 27,000 uninsured cars were seized by the police in Pennsylvania this year alone (compared with more than 70,000 in 2014).
If you get into an accident with a driver without coverage, having uninsured motorist coverage protects you, your family, and your passengers for any bodily injury that results from being hit by them.
Is Pennsylvania A Fault or No Fault State?
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, which essentially means that, regardless of who is at fault in an accident, their own insurance company covers initial medical expenses (up to the personal injury protection limit entailed in their policy).
However, at the same time, drivers also have a choice in Pennsylvania, because they are able to (personally) choose whether they want to carry no-fault insurance or just traditional coverage.
So If I Have No-Fault Insurance, I Cannot Sue At All?
You are still allowed to bring a lawsuit against an at-fault driver if you have no-fault insurance, however, you can only do so if you suffer from a particular type of injury. In Pennsylvania, “serious bodily injury” is defined as any bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of any organ.
Uninsured motorist coverage refers to the driver has no coverage whatsoever, whereas underinsured coverage refers to a driver who may have the minimum amount of coverage, but not enough insurance to cover all of the necessary bills applicable to the accident (where they were found to be at fault).
Thus, while your personal injury protection would go a long way to cover most of your bills, if you have additional bills beyond that amount and the at-fault driver does not have any or enough coverage, you would be stuck paying the remaining bills.
In addition, in 2014, a Pennsylvania jury awarded a man $250,000 for damages suffered while driving a vehicle insured under an uninsured motorist policy. These policies can be helpful and should be considered when determining the coverage your will carry on your automobile.
Need Legal Assistance?
If you have been injured in an auto accident and now have to deal with medical bills and taking time off work, you may have a claim. The attorneys at Solnick & Associates LLC have helped thousands of people in these types of accidents. Contact our experienced auto accident attorneys today for a free consultation.