No-fault insurance is a type of auto insurance that is allowed by state law. No-fault insurance covers damages that occur to a driver during an accident regardless of who is at fault. No-fault circumvents a driver from having to put in a claim for damages to the other driver’s insurance company in order to get reimbursement. Only a certain number of states in the country have no-fault insurance laws, including Pennsylvania. Additionally, Pennsylvania is one of three states that falls into a category with special exceptions.
Pros and Cons of No-Fault Insurance
No-fault insurance policies bring many benefits to the table for drivers. For instance, drivers no longer need to worry about having to sue another driver for an accident he caused because the driver’s own no-fault policy will cover the damages regardless of who is at fault. Because there are no lawyers or courts to involve and because the law requires no-fault coverage, payments under no-fault policies are typically a lot faster than other auto policies.
On the other side, there are certain cons to having to go through no-fault insurance. First, putting in a claim through no-fault insurance requires you to put in a claim through your own insurance policy. While it’s a relief to have the damages from the accident paid for, there is a chance that your premiums will go up. Second, going through no-fault insurance means you are trading in your right to sue for additional damages, such as pain and suffering, at a later time in order to get payment up front.
Pennsylvania’s Special Exceptions
Unlike many of the other no-fault states, Pennsylvania has choice-no-fault laws. This is a specific exception that allows Pennsylvania drivers to decide up front which type of auto insurance they will opt for. Drivers can choose between a full tort policy, which is a traditional auto insurance policy, or a limited tort policy, which is a no-fault policy. The ability to choose between the two types of coverage is a benefit to drivers, but it is important to know the differences between the policies in order to make the best decision.
While typical no-fault insurance may not be attractive to most drivers because the elimination of the ability to bring a lawsuit, Pennsylvania has created a statute to allow drivers to have some legal recourse only if a serious bodily injury is involved as a result of the accident. Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law allows drivers to sue another driver after an accident unless a serious injury occurs. A serious injury is defined as “a personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement.” While your no-fault insurance will cover your medical expenses, it may be helpful to try to recover damages for pain and suffering related to a serious injury.
It can often be difficult to understand the law surrounding choice-no-fault laws. Because of this, you may want to consider consulting an attorney to discuss any questions you may have before your purchase an insurance policy. If you have been in an accident, it is also important that you speak with a knowledgeable auto accident attorney in Philadelphia to help you navigate the claims process.