Limited Tort Insurance Leads to Summary Judgement - Wilkes-Barre, Scranton Personal Injury Lawyers

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Limited Tort Insurance Leads to Summary Judgement

An injured party’s election of limited tort automobile insurance recently led to the dismissal of his auto accident injury claim. In Phillipi v. Carey, a matter pending in the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, the plaintiff injured his neck and low back as a result of a motor vehicle accident. He had elected the limited tort option when purchasing his automobile insurance. This election required the plaintiff to prove a serious injury as a result of the accident in order to recover for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. The plaintiff claimed that the injuries from the accident affected his ability to walk and stand. Despite these complaints, the court determined that these impairments did not, as a matter of law, rise to the level of a serious injury, and dismissed plaintiff’s claim.

This decision is concerning, as it represents a departure from established case law in Pennsylvania which holds that the question of whether an injury constitutes a serious injury in a limited tort case is one that must be decided by a jury. The case illustrates the importance of electing the full tort option when purchasing automobile insurance. Although electing the full tort option will increase your insurance premium, the benefit of having an unrestricted right to claim pain and suffering damages as a result of an auto accident typically far outweighs the increased costs.

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