Peacock Tales • Spring 2012


Limited Tort versus Full Tort

In your car insurance policy, you have been given the choice of purchasing the Limited Tort Option.  A premium reduction is offered when you select that option instead of the full tort option.  That discount may look attractive, but the Limited Tort Option may give you less than you bargained for.

If you have the Limited Tort Option and you are in an accident, you are limited in what you can claim against the other driver.  You may still claim “economic losses” such out-of-pocket expenses, including rental car expenses and medications that are prescribed for your injuries.  But you cannot sue for your injuries unless you suffer a loss of significant bodily function, permanent disfigurement or death.  This is where problems arise.

You may think you have suffered a loss of a significant bodily function or permanent disfigurement, but your interpretation may be different from what the courts will allow.  For instance, you might feel that the pain in your back that the doctors say will last forever is significant, but the insurance company for the driver who hit you may not agree.  If a court does not agree with you, you may see no recovery because you selected the Limited Tort Option.  If you did not select the Limited Tort Option, you could make a claim for that back injury, even if it was not a loss of significant bodily function, permanent disfigurement or death.

The lesson here is that if you have the Limited Tort Option non your policy, or if you are considering it for a new policy, be sure that you understand what you are giving up and carefully consider whether the premium discount you are offered is worth it.

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