By a Philadelphia, PA Car Accident Injury Lawyer
In general, pursuant to Pennsylvania car accident law, limited tort drivers cannot recover for non-economic damages, i.e., pain and suffering damages, as a result of an accident caused by another driver. They may only recover economic damages such as work loss, out of pocket medical expenses, etc.
Although limited tort drivers are limited in their ability to sue at-fault drivers for pain and suffering damages, there are exceptions to this rule. When such exceptions apply, limited tort drivers will be deemed to have full tort, and they may then sue for pain and suffering damages, as well as economic damages.
Exceptions to Limited Tort
In a previous blog, Philadelphia, PA Car Accidents – What You Need to Know About Limited Tort, we provided specific exceptions to limited tort. In this two part blog, we will provide specific examples of these exceptions.
Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), section 1705(d)(3) provides:
An individual otherwise bound by the limited tort election shall retain full tort rights if injured while an occupant of a motor vehicle other than a private passenger motor vehicle.
The question then becomes, what is a motor vehicle other than a private passenger motor vehicle? This is defined in Section 1702, which provides:
“Private passenger motor vehicle.” A four-wheel motor vehicle, except recreational vehicles not intended for highway use, which is insured by a natural person and:
(1) is a passenger car neither used as a public or livery conveyance nor rented to others; or
(2) has a gross weight not exceeding 9,000 pounds and is not principally used for commercial purposes other than farming.
The term does not include any motor vehicle insured exclusively under a policy covering garage, automobile sales agency repair shop, service station or public parking place operation hazards.
Under the statute, motorcycles would not be considered a private passenger motor vehicle.
This seems relatively straightforward. The confusion comes in when the motorcycle rider also owns a car and when both the motorcycle and car policies are provided by the same insurance company.
Just because an injured motorcycle rider has limited tort on his car insurance policy does not mean that limited tort applies when he is injured as a result of a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycles are not private passenger motor vehicles, and hence, injured riders are not bound by the limited tort they have on their car insurance policy.
Motorcycle riders/passenger are more likely to sustain serious injuries compared to car drivers/passengers as a result of an accident. Motorcycles do not provide any protection to riders, whose bodies often come in direct contact with the striking vehicle.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this article series.
Help After Being Injured in a Philadelphia Car Accident
If you have limited tort and were injured in a car accident in Philadelphia, it is best that you speak to a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer. Jordan Namerow is an experienced PA car accident lawyer and always offers FREE consultations. 215-985-0777