So long as the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, under the laws of Pennsylvania, you would likely be able to recover for your injuries. Exactly what you would be able to make a claim for will depend on the type of car insurance policy you have, the seriousness of the injuries, and the nature of the accident (pedestrian, auto, etc.). There are many variables and it is important to have your case reviewed by a qualified car accident lawyer who will review the facts of the case and advise you on how to proceed.
There are three legal avenues available to individuals injured in intersection auto accidents. First, medical bills would be payable via PIP (personal injury protection). PIP is paid by your own car insurance company. That’s how PIP law works in all PA auto cases including accidents in Philadelphia. Among other things, PIP covers medical bills and lost wages. In PA, the required minimum amount of medical coverage under PIP is $5,000. Many residents of Philadelphia purchase higher limits; $10,000 and $50,000 medical coverage limits are very common.
In addition, it is important to note that PIP is available regardless of fault; this is the no-fault principle at play. Stated another way, it does not matter who caused the car accident. If you’re injured, you make a claim for medical benefits with your own car insurance company. This sounds counter-intuitive to many people, but the reality is that this is how PA’s no-fault law works.
Second, a pedestrian, driver or passenger can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and receive financial compensation for medical bills not covered by PIP, lost wages and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering claims may be limited depending on your tort election (i.e., whether you selected “limited tort” or “full tort” on your auto insurance policy).
Third, an individual injured in an auto accident in Philadelphia can make a claim for UIM (underinsured) or UM (uninsured) benefits. UIM/UM benefits are not mandatory. Unfortunately, many people opt out of UIM/UM coverage. If you have UIM/UM, you can make an insurance claim with your own car insurance company in two situations. See below for more info.
Auto vs. Auto Intersection Accident
If the accident only involved vehicles and was not a pedestrian-auto accident and you are a PA resident insured under a car insurance policy issued in this state, you will be bound by your tort election. If you elected full tort, you can make a claim for both economic losses like medical bills and lost pay and pain and suffering. If you elected limited tort, you can make a claim for economic losses and pain and suffering if and only if your injuries are serious and permanent. Alternatively, you can make a claim for pain and suffering if the accident falls within certain statutory exceptions (i.e., you were hit by a drunk driver, you were hit by a car registered in another state, etc.).
Auto vs. Pedestrian Intersection Accident
Pedestrians who are injured in pedestrian-auto accidents in Philadelphia are not bound by their tort elections. PA law has been clear on this point since 2004, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made it clear that a pedestrian’s auto insurance tort election did not apply when making a claim for injuries following a pedestrian-auto accident. See L.S. v. David Eschbach, Jr., Inc. (Pa. 2004).
UIM & UM
UIM claims are made when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries and damages. In other words, the at-fault driver was underinsured. UIM coverage tends to apply in serious injury cases where the at-fault driver is covered under a low limit policy (i.e., $15,000). If your injuries and damages are valued well over $15,000, you would first seek the $15,000 from the at-fault driver and then make a UIM claim. UM claims are made when the at-fault driver cannot be located, i.e., a hit and run situation. If the intersection accident was a hit and run, then there may be a UM claim.
To submit your case for review by our Philadelphia car accident accident lawyers, call (866) 641-0806. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Last updated: October 7, 2016