I wanted to take a few moments today to discuss why Pennsylvania law only requires a driver to carry $15,000 in auto insurance coverage. In a nutshell, the reason why that is the law is because of the insurance industry. They want to keep the minimum amount of coverage at this shockingly low amount. The question is why. The answer is pretty obvious. They make a lot more money that way by selling more and more policies and collecting the premiums on them.
Believe it or not, the $15,000 minimum in Pennsylvania has been like this for a very, very long time. Every time the attorneys for victims like you attempt to increase it, they get roadblocks thrown at them by the insurance companies. Recently, a bill passed in the Pennsylvania legislature. But it has been stalled since then. And the result is more of the same, which is the horrifically low bare minimum that is required to drive a car in Pennsylvania.
Why is this important to you as a victim? Because by and large your recovery will be capped at the auto policy limits of the car that hit you, more particularly of the driver’s policy limits.
Here is an example. Suppose you are rear ended by another vehicle going at 80 mph. Somehow you survive this and have horrific injuries. Suppose also you have one and possibly two surgeries. You are laid up for several months getting rehabilitation. You have a knee injury that requires surgery. The doctors have said they might have to do additional surgery on your leg.Everyone would agree that is a horrific injury. Right? Now take that example and add the fact that the person who caused all these injuries to you only has the state minimum $15,000 auto insurance coverage limit. Well, suppose, you say, I could go after the guy that caused this accident and get a judgment against him. That is correct. You could. However, if the gentleman is judgment proof or has no assets, what are you going to collect? In all likelihood nothing. Let’s take the example even further and suppose the person who hit you does have assets like a house or car. Sounds more promising? Actually not. That is because about everyone has their house in their name and usually in their spouse’s name. In addition to that, they can easily transfer it into another person’s name before any judgment is entered against them.
Why that is important is that you cannot garnish someone’s wages in Pennsylvania or attach their house if it is owned by someone else or jointly owned.
Therefore, you would be looking at a piece of paper from the jury saying that you are entitled to $1 million for your damages. However, you couldn’t turn that into actual money.
So what do most people do? They reluctantly accept the policy limits of the insurance company, which in this case is $15,000. Believe it or not, that ends the insurance company’s involvement in this matter. They wipe their hands clean and they go on to the next premium they can get.
Can you see why the state minimum of $15,000 is so out of date with modern society?
The only real solution is to implore our state legislature to increase the auto insurance minimum coverage in Pennsylvania. We have tried to get that amount up to eat least $30,000. But even that is meeting with a lot of resistance from the auto insurance industry.
Believe it or not, they can even tip their hat and take applause on this by telling the public that they are fighting the effort to increase the auto industry minimums. Then they come across as looking like they are fighting against the greedy lawyers and the trial lawyers association.
This is particularly frustrating to Pittsburgh car accident and wrongful death attorney Bernie Tully because of the number of cases I have done dealing with this issue. Incredibly, we have had victims who have died in car accidents or been permanently disabled and have to accept this $15,000 minimum coverage in Pennsylvania.
I hope you can see why it is to your benefit as a consumer to push the insurance industry to increase their minimum amounts in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania car accident and wrongful death attorney Bernie Tully is here to help you in your accident case. You can be sure that we will fight for you to get you a just award for your injuries. What we are asking you to do is to help us get the minimums vastly increased today so that an injury victim in the future won’t have to go through what too many victims have already gone through in Pennsylvania.
Well, that sums it up regarding auto insurance coverage minimums in Pennsylvania. What do you think?
Thanks for reading
Bernie the attorney