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Insurance Options May Vary

Personal Injury Insurance Options May Vary

By Maureen Kroll, RN, MN, JD

Have you ever received a personal injury in an auto accident? If you have received injuries in an auto accident, were those injuries mild, severe, not so serious as to be life threatening, or just serious enough to impact your activities and daily living?

And then did you attempt to be compensated for your pain and suffering but were told that your insurance did not cover your claim? Most likely if this occurred, it was because your personal injury was not a serious impairment of body function and/or you only had limited tort coverage.

Choosing full tort or limited tort coverage is an option that applies to all policies no matter which insurance company you choose. Limited tort means that unless you are seriously injured you can no longer sue or bring a claim against the other driver for pain and suffering when injured in an automobile accident.

This type of coverage limits your rights to receive money for such matters as medical bills not covered by insurance, lost wages over and above your own coverage, and actual out of pocket expenses. Your insurance company must inform you of these available choices and will have you sign a paper acknowledging your choice.

For all this that you are giving up, the insurance company must offer you a lower premium. Surprisingly, the difference in the premium between choosing full tort of limited tort is a very small dollar amount when compared to the potential benefits you may enjoy at the full tort option. Is saving on your premium enough to give up a chance to be compensated for an injury you did not cause?

Furthermore, only the courts have been deciding just what is a serious injury and the criteria is confusing. However, some of the criteria to evaluate are: what body function was impaired, what is the duration of the injury, what treatment is required to correct the impairment, and the extent of the impairment.

Clearly, no black or white test is available to determine what is a serious personal injury. Remember, you may not be able to do things you want to through no fault of your own. Why limit your protection for a small discount on your insurance bill?

You do not have to wait until your premium is due to make this change. You may call your insurance agent any time to make this change.

This is just one issue in the area of auto insurance law. This brief article is not a substitute for legal advice. Meet with your attorney and insurance representative to have your specific needs addressed.

Service Area

Attorney Maureen Kroll provides services in Westmoreland County, PA, including the communities of Greensburg, Irwin, Jeannette, Ligonier, Mt. Pleasant, North Huntingdon, Latrobe, and Scottdale.


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