Limited Tort and Full Tort: What’s the difference?

Understanding How Your Car Insurance Election Can Affect Your Ability to Recover Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In Pennsylvania, when selecting car insurance, you are given the option within your policy to choose between full tort and limited tort. Full tort – which is more expensive – will cover your pain and suffering in the event of a car accident, whereas limited tort only provides recovery for pain and suffering in limited circumstances. Obviously, given this limitation, full tort is the preferred election.

By choosing the limited tort option you will be permitted to receive compensation for “economic loss,” – e.g., lost wages and medical expenses – with narrow ability to recover money for pain and suffering. Some exceptions where a party can obtain recovery for pain and suffering despite choosing limited tort include the following situations:

  • Serious Injury;
  • Out-of-State Vehicle involved in accident;
  • Drunk Driver; and
  • Commercial vehicle.

Given these few exceptions, individuals should think long and hard when deciding between limited tort and full tort. Unfortunately, many choose limited tort to save a few extra dollars a month. This kind of thinking is short sighted, and fails to recognize the significant barriers that a limited tort election instills for future recovery of pain and suffering damages in the event of a significant accident.