If i was a passenger in a car accident in the state of pa do i have the right to sue
2 attorney answers
Yes, you should consult with a personal injury attorney in your area. Most offer a free consultation and you should take advantage of the service.
You may also find it helpful to review some of the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com, many of which deal with the situations you are now facing following this collision.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.
As a PA resident, your right to pursue a lawsuit for an injury in PA will generally be shaped by whether you or any family member in your household has their own car and the nature of the insurance for that car. Specifically, if you own a car registered in PA, you want to be sure your insurance provides "full tort" coverage (NOT Limited Tort). NEVER accept a "limited tort" policy: you will be giving up rights worth FAR more than the insurance savings. If you do not own your own car, be sure that any family members in your household have "full tort." Otherwise, the limited tort election you or a family member residing in your household may have made when buying insurance will follow you even when you are a passenger in someone else's vehicle. If you are subject to only "limited tort" rights, you will generally NOT have the right to recover anything for pain in suffering in a lawsuit, unless you can show that your resulting injuries are VERY serious and essentially LIFE-LONG. Check your insurance policy or those of family members in your household, and call a good Pennsylvania personal injury attorney to discuss the tort option dictated by those insurance choices, and to discuss whether any exceptions may apply in the event your family is subject to a bad ("limited tort") insurance policy. In some circumstances (such as where the liable driver is convicted of DUI, or where the liable driver's vehicle is registered out of state, to name two), you will be able to claim "full tort" rights by operation of law, even where you or your family member accepted limited tort insurance. If you have a FULL TORT policy, or a full tort exception applies, or if you can honestly state that there are no vehicles in your household, you would have full tort rights and your case automatically has value, since as a passenger it is clear that liability for the accident will fall to one or more of the involved drivers, not to you. With "full tort" rights, the only limitation on what you will be able to recover will be the extent of your injuries and pain and suffering, and possibly the available insurance coverage limits maintained by the parties responsible for the accident. Remember that even as a passenger in someone else's car, it is YOUR insurance (or that of a family member in your home) that will control your most basic right - whether or not you can recover anything for your pain and suffering - and NOT the insurance policy for the vehicle you were in. Talk to a good Pennsylvania lawyer immediately to determine your specific rights.
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