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Full Tort vs Limited Tort Insurance | What’s the Difference?

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In some states, buying insurance means you have to choose between full tort and limited tort. In my legal experience, I've found that most people believe that they have full tort insurance when they actually have limited tort. 

In this article, I will tell you how to find out which type of insurance you have and the pros and cons of each so that you can make an informed decision about your coverage.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Full tort insurance gives you the right to sue for all damages, no matter how minor the accident
  • Those who require modest tort insurance are typically those who are on a budget and don't have the funds for an accident
  • Full and limited tort insurance cover damages to people and their property

What is Tort Insurance?

Two miniature cars simulating a car crash

Tort insurance is the most popular system of auto insurance in the United States that offers personal injury protection. 

Tort auto insurance makes the driver who is at fault in an accident responsible for paying vehicle damage, medical bills, and other damages for the other party. Most states use this system when it comes to car insurance liability coverage.

Those damages include:

  • Car damage
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Potential future costs

The tort system is a way of dealing with accidents and offering personal injury protection. Drivers have to buy insurance from car insurance companies that will cover their own medical costs and the costs of their passengers.

The no-fault system is different because drivers can't sue to get money for pain and suffering unless there are special circumstances [1].

Related Article: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Car Insurance Coverage

Full Tort vs. Limited Tort

Two lawyers doing paperwork side by side

There are two types of tort insurance coverage: full tort and limited tort car insurance policy. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

What is Full Tort?

Full tort insurance is a type of insurance that gives you the right to sue for all damages, no matter how minor the accident. If you're in a car accident, you can sue the other driver for the pain and suffering, even if your injuries are minor.

Injured parties don’t have to sue the guilty driver. Instead, they can submit insurance claims to their insurance company. 

Advantages of Full Tort Policy

  1. You can sue for all damages, no matter how minor the accident.
  2. You don't have to prove that the other driver was at fault.

Disadvantages of Full Tort Policy

  1. Full tort costs more than a limited tort insurance policy.
  2. You might not get any money if you sue and lose because you have to pay the other driver's legal fees.

Who Needs Full Tort Insurance?

Those who need full tort insurance tend to be those who have a high-risk lifestyle or are worried about being in car accidents. Others include:

  • People who have a lot to lose in an auto accident. This includes people with significant assets, such as a house or a business.
  • People who are more likely to be in an accident. This might include young drivers or those who live in high-crime areas.
  • People are more likely to be injured in an accident. This includes the elderly or those with health conditions that make them more fragile.

What is a Limited Tort?

A beaten up car from a crashLimited tort is a type of insurance that doesn't allow you to sue for pain and suffering unless your injuries are serious. This means that if you're in a car accident and have minor injuries, you can't sue the other driver for pain and suffering.  

For example, I handled a case where the other driver had liability insurance, and the plaintiff's medical bills were paid. But they did receive a lot of money for the feeling of being hurt due to the Limited Tort coverage.

Advantages of Limited Tort Policy

  1. It's less expensive than full tort insurance.
  2. You can still sue for economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages.

Disadvantages of Limited Tort Policy

  1. You can't sue for pain and suffering unless your injuries are serious.
  2. You have to prove that the other driver was at fault.

Who Needs Limited Tort Insurance?

Those who need limited tort insurance tend to be on a budget and less likely to be in an accident. Others include:

  • People who have a low-risk lifestyle. This includes people who don't often drive or live in safe areas.
  • People who are less likely to be in an accident. This might include experienced drivers or those who drive slow cars.
  • People who are less likely to be injured in an accident. This includes the young and healthy.

Damages You're Allowed To Pursue in Full or Limited Tort

A car crash accident with a person leaning on the car

There are two types of damage: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are things that you can measure financially. This includes:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Damage to vehicles

Full tort coverage and limited tort coverage include both the damages to people and their property.

Non-economic damages are losses that are not easy to express in terms of money. Non-economic damages can include:

  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional shock

Full tort insurance protects your right to sue for any kind of damage. Limited tort insurance removes that right unless you meet certain conditions.

"With full tort, your full legal rights are protected. If you're injured due to someone else's negligence, you can make a legal claim and recover compensation for both your economic and non-economic damages."
- Tim Rayne, Personal Injury Attorney.

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FAQs

Can you sue with limited tort in PA?

You can still sue with limited tort in PA, but your compensation will be capped at your medical expenses unless your injuries meet the serious injury threshold.

What is the full tort coverage?

Full tort coverage is when you have the right to sue for any kind of damage, including pain and suffering, regardless of how minor the accident is.

How much more is Full Tort and limited?

Full tort insurance costs are typically 10-15% more than limited tort insurance.

Which Is The Right One For You?

When it comes to deciding between full tort coverage and limited tort coverage, there are a few things you should consider. First, think about your lifestyle. Full tort insurance might be a good idea if you're a high-risk individual. Limited tort insurance could save you money if you're on a budget and have a low-risk lifestyle.

If you still have problems choosing, you can contact our law firm Schmidt & Clark, and get your free consultation session with experienced personal injury lawyers, which will help put you on the right track.


References:

  1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/no-fault_insurance

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