Lehigh Valley: 610-435-7400

Philadelphia: 215-567-6616

What Is No-Fault Car Insurance?

The Legal Implications of No-Fault Car Insurance

Pennsylvania is among 12 states that have no-fault auto insurance laws, which can vary greatly from one state to the next. Pennsylvania requires all drivers to have personal injury protection, which will cover you to some extent in the event you are injured even if you are at fault. However, PIP benefits may not cover all your expenses, and in Pennsylvania, the no-fault rules do not necessarily preclude you from hiring a Philadelphia accident lawyer to sue a driver who was at fault.

What Are No-Fault Rules?

The concept of no-fault car insurance is a broad one that aims to reduce insurance costs by eliminating many small claims lawsuits. In Pennsylvania, drivers may choose between a zero threshold and a verbal threshold. People who choose a zero threshold are not limited when seeking compensation for noneconomic damages resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Those who choose the verbal threshold must instead make a PIP claim against their own policy, which cannot increase their rates, and they can receive compensation for:
  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Loss of income
If a driver chooses the verbal threshold and wants to pursue further compensation, he or she must demonstrate that the verbal threshold was met. Such circumstances include:
  • Loss of life
  • Disfigurement
  • Dismemberment
  • Permanent injuries
  • Displaced fractures
  • Loss of an unborn child

What Are Shared-Fault Rules?

On average, 15 vehicular accidents occur every hour in Pennsylvania. The majority of these accidents are minor, and no one is deemed at fault. Pennsylvania law also accounts for shared fault, which means that a driver is somewhat responsible for his or her own injuries. In such cases, the amount of compensation you can receive is lowered by the percentage at which you are deemed at fault. If it is determined that you are at fault by more than 50 percent, then you may not be able to claim anything at all.

Can There Be Personal Injury Claims Related to an Accident?

Yes. A driver who has selected a zero threshold may seek compensation through a claim that’s filed against the other driver’s insurance provider or a lawsuit. Compensation will be based on the extent of the damages and the degree to which the driver was at fault. A driver who has selected a verbal threshold may initiate a personal injury claim as well but needs to demonstrate that the verbal threshold was met.

Is There a Statute of Limitations?

All personal injury claims, including those originating from motor vehicle accidents, have a statute of limitations. You have two years from the accident to file the lawsuit. In addition, if the at-fault party is a local or state government agent or agency, you must notify the government of your intent to sue in writing within six months. Both deadlines are strict, but there are some exceptions. If the injured person is under 18 years old, the statute timer does not begin until he or she turns 18. If a defendant is out of state for an extended period or tries to hide him or herself, a lawyer can seek an extension to the deadline through the courts.

Are There Limitations to Damages?

Pennsylvania does not limit the amount of compensatory damages you may receive if you win a personal injury case. However, the state does limit punitive damages to two times the actual damages.

The Local Representation You Need

If you or someone close to you has been involved in an accident, we recommend that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Whether you are a victim, share fault or are completely at fault, a Philadelphia accident lawyer can make a big difference in your life. At Metzger & Kleiner, our focus is personal injury law only in PA, including injuries stemming from car accidents. You can arrange a free, confidential consultation by contacting us online or calling our Philadelphia office at (215) 567-6616 or our Lehigh Valley office at (610) 435-7400.

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