Whose Insurance Pays in a Car Accident?

In Pennsylvania, whose insurance pays after a car accident depends on several factors, including the type of insurance coverage you chose. Pennsylvania is a choice state when it comes to no-fault insurance.

This means that whether or not a driver can sue an at-fault driver for pain and suffering– is based on the insurance purchased. Whose insurance pays also depends on which driver is at-fault for the crash and the circumstances surrounding the accident.

When you have suffered serious injuries in a motor vehicle collision because of another party’s actions, a  Pittsburgh Car Crash Lawyer from our firm can help hold the driver responsible. Our dedicated attorneys have recovered over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients.

Pennsylvania auto insurance

Pennsylvania allows drivers to choose between full tort and limited tort coverage for automobile insurance. The latter coverage is less expensive but limits a motorist’s ability to sue an at-fault driver after an accident.

Pennsylvania requires all motorists to carry a minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) insurance. This covers medical expenses and lost wages for those injured in an accident caused by the insured motorist.

These minimums will not pay for much in the event of serious injuries, so it is wise to buy additional coverage and avoid putting personal assets at risk.

State requirements also include at least $5,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays the insured driver’s medical expenses up to the policy limit.

The minimum property damage liability coverage is $5,000, which may prove insufficient if the other driver’s vehicle is severely damaged or totaled. Motorists should consider purchasing additional coverage.

While Pennsylvania does not require drivers to carry Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist insurance, it is highly recommended. The limits are the same for BIL coverage for both uninsured and underinsured motorists, and drivers who opt not to purchase this coverage must reject this insurance in writing.

Medical treatment

For minor injuries, the driver’s insurance will pay for their medical treatment, no matter who was at-fault for the accident. Of course, those payments are only up to the limits of the driver’s policy.

Once the PIP coverage is exhausted, the driver may sue the at-fault motorist for medical bills and lost wages, as well as out-of-pocket accident-related expenses, for which the PIP insurance was insufficient.

Property damage

If you have collision insurance on your vehicle, the fastest way to have your car repaired is via your policy, even if the other driver is at fault. After you cover the deductible, your insurer should pay for repairs.

The insurance company will then contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company for reimbursement. However, if the driver carries only the $5,000 minimum and the repairs were more costly, you may have to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for the rest of the repair bills.

Uninsured driver

If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, and you do not carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance must pay all bills. If these expenses are above your policy limits, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

However, filing such a lawsuit makes little sense unless you know the at-fault motorist has personal assets. Most uninsured or underinsured drivers do not have much in the way of such assets, or they would have purchased adequate insurance coverage.

Filing a lawsuit

A driver purchasing full tort coverage can file a personal injury lawsuit and sue the at-fault driver for medical expenses and non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. Because it is cheaper, most motorists opt for limited tort coverage and can sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering only if certain conditions are met. These include:

  • Uninsured at-fault driver
  • Accident results from motor vehicle defect
  • The at-fault driver was driving drunk, intentionally caused the crash, or the vehicle was registered in another state.

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania is two years.

Contact a Pittsburgh car crash lawyer

If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a car accident because of the negligent actions of another driver or party, you need the services of our expert team of lawyers with more than 85 combined years of experience. Call or text us 24/7 to arrange a free consultation or contact us online.

We will review your case and insurance coverage and advise you of your options. Since we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless we win.

Finally, our core value is “Doing Good by Doing Right.” You can expect us to dig deep into the details of your case to maximize monetary recovery and support you in your physical and emotional recovery.