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Limited Tort is Limited Leverage

September 9, 2020

On September 4, 2020, our Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a legal opinion which shows how much you give up when you choose Limited Tort for your car insurance policy.  If you need a reminder of what Limited Tort means, please take a look at the article we published titled, “Limited Tort and What it Means for You.”  In this situation, Limited Tort meant a man who had three surgeries on his back was not able to ask a jury whether his injuries should be considered “serious.”

A man was hurt in a car accident.  He had a number of physical problems with his back before he was hit.  After he got hit, he had three surgeries on his neck and back.  If a Judge believes no juror could believe part of the case, the Judge may take that particular question from the jury.  The trial Judge in this case ruled a reasonable juror could not believe the injuries were, “…a serious impairment of body function, or permanent serious disfigurement.”  In essence, the Judge decided no jury would believe this person was seriously injured when comparing his pre-existing physical problems and the problems he had after he was hit by another driver.

The Superior Court agreed.  This means the fellow who was injured and brought a lawsuit was not able to have his case tried in front of a jury because he chose Limited Tort and the cheaper premium that came with it.  Benton v. Shull, 1938 MDA 2019 (Pa. Super. September 4, 2020).

Please, take a few moments to look at your car insurance policy and find whether you chose the Limited Tort Option.  If you did, call your insurance agent right away and ask how much it would cost to change to the Full Tort Option.  If the man in the story would have had the Full Tort Option, his full claim would have been heard by a jury.  Instead, he limited his leverage to pursue his claim.  The Full Tort Option gives you the Full Leverage you need in a bad situation, and it will allow your claim to be fully heard and valued.  Imagine if a tractor trailer truck from Pennsylvania hit you on Route 81 in Harrisburg.  You are hurt, and the insurance company is not taking your claim seriously.  When you go look at your insurance policy to determine your leverage, you want to see FULL TORT listed on your policy.  Make the change now!


Joseph Chapman

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