Motor vehicle insurance in Pennsylvania serves two overlapping purposes. It protects individual motorists from liability in the event that they cause a crash by compensating the people affected by a collision for property damage losses and injury-related expenses.
Every driver in Pennsylvania is required to carry liability coverage and also no-fault medical benefits coverage. Those involved in a crash might assume that since two policies will apply, they will have adequate financial support. Unfortunately, many people affected by car crashes learn afterward that they may fall into an unfortunate insurance gap.
What Pennsylvania requires may not be sufficient
Pennsylvania has very low insurance requirements when one considers how expensive healthcare can be and how much it costs to replace a vehicle. The liability coverage that a motorist will provide for others after a crash may not be enough to buy a new vehicle.
Pennsylvania only requires $5,000 in property damage liability coverage for someone to legally drive. Drivers also need to have $15,000 in bodily injury coverage if one person gets hurt and $30,000 of coverage for a single crash where two or more people get hurt. After a major crash, drivers may only have $10,000 to replace their vehicle from the other driver. They should also only have their own medical coverage to reimburse them for medical expenses and lost wages.
Especially if someone requires surgery or a lengthy stay in the hospital, $15,000 of coverage won’t be enough for their medical expenses or lost wages. The state only requires $5,000 in medical coverage for drivers, which could leave the claimant with hundreds of dollars in medical bills. If the person who caused the crash in the person affected by the crash both have the minimum insurance required by the state, there could be a sizable gap that leaves the person who isn’t to blame for the wreck with massive uncovered expenses.
How can people address an insurance gap?
People can plan for an insurance gap before a crash occurs or seek compensation for one after the fact. Those worried about a future crash can invest in uninsured and underinsured motorist protection to increase what will cover their costs when someone else causes a crash. After a collision, the best option for someone without enough insurance available might involve going to civil court.
Both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits can be ways to recoup uncovered expenses following up car crash in Pennsylvania. Motorists who recognize the potential shortcomings of the current Pennsylvania insurance program will have a better chance of protecting themselves against future financial hardship.
Seeking legal guidance to better understand what protections are available after a Pennsylvania car crash may help people to cope with the financial fallout of a recent wreck that has caused significant physical injuries.