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Out-of-State Driver Liability

Chester County is just a matter of minutes from state lines separating Pennsylvania from Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. Thousands of other visitors visiting the Philadelphia region from many other states also use local roadways in and around the greater West Chester area. 

All motorists are required to purchase and maintain car insurance in order to legally drive in Pennsylvania, but minimum automobile insurance requirements can vary by state. In serious accidents caused by drivers from other states, it can be extremely challenging for victims to sort out complex legal claims when seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

Attorney in West Chester, PA Discusses Out-of-State Driver Liability

If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a crash in southeastern Pennsylvania caused by a resident of another state, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Ciccarelli Law Offices represent clients in communities throughout Lancaster County, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and the greater Philadelphia area. 

Our West Chester personal injury lawyers provide legal representation on a contingency fee basis so you will not have to worry about paying us anything unless you receive a financial award. Call (610) 719-3190 today to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


Chester County Out-of-State Driver Liability Information Center


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Pennsylvania Automobile Insurance Requirements

An automobile insurance policy is usually based on the state in which the policy is purchased. State automobile liability insurance laws are generally divided into four categories: 

  • No-Fault — Also known as personal injury protection (PIP), a policy under which an individual is compensated by his or her own insurance company, regardless of fault; 
  • Choice No-Fault — Drivers in some states (such as Pennsylvania) have the option of a no-fault automobile insurance policy or a traditional tort liability policy; 
  • Tort Liability — A policy under which an individual is compensated by the negligent driver or the negligent driver's insurance company; and 
  • Add-On — Add-on policies allow drivers to obtain compensation from their own insurance companies but do not place any restrictions on lawsuits. 

States have differing minimums for the amount of liability coverage (also known as casualty insurance) that motorists much purchase for bodily injury and property damage. In Pennsylvania, the required coverages are as follows: 

  • Medical Benefits — $5,000; 
  • Bodily Injury Liability — $15,000 for one person, $30,000 for one accident; and 
  • Property Damage Liability — $5,000. 

Insurance policies in Pennsylvania may also include any one of a number of additional options, if so purchased by the drivers: Additional coverages may include Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) policies, both of which can also be "stacked" to provide for higher coverage limits. Other kinds of optional coverages include: 

  • Accidental Death 
  • Collision 
  • Comprehensive 
  • Extraordinary Medical Benefits 
  • Funeral Benefit 
  • Gap coverage 
  • Income Loss 
  • Rental Reimbursement 
  • Towing 

Keep in mind that the automobile insurance laws of other states also take precedence when a Pennsylvania driver is involved in a collision in another state. In a state such as Delaware, for example, a limited tort Pennsylvania automobile insurance policy would not necessarily prevent the motorist from filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver.


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Difference Between Limited Tort and Full Tort Coverage in West Chester

When a person purchases an automobile insurance policy in Pennsylvania, he or she will be given the option of choosing between a "full tort" or "limited tort" policy. Full tort and limited tort policies both allow people to recover for such losses caused by other drivers as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. 

A limited tort policy, however, is somewhat cheaper in regards to monthly premiums and a driver with such a policy is bound by the terms of his or her contract with the insurance company. The limited tort option limits a person's right and the right of members of his or her household to seek financial compensation for injuries caused by other drivers. 

While a person with full tort coverage retains the right to sue a negligent driver for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, an individual with a limited tort policy can only do so in certain limited circumstances. Title 75 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statue § 1705(d) establishes certain exceptions in which people with limited tort coverage may seek compensation for noneconomic losses for accidents as the consequence of the fault of another person when such crashes result in serious injuries (Title 75 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statue § 1702 defines a serious injury as a "personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement"). 

One major exception is when an at-fault driver was operating a motor vehicle registered in another state. Other possible exceptions to limited tort policies include: 

  • At-fault driver is convicted or accepts Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or a controlled substance in that accident; 
  • At-fault driver intends to injure himself or another person, provided that an individual does not intentionally injure himself or another person merely because his act or failure to act is intentional or done with his realization that it creates a grave risk of causing injury or the act or omission causing the injury is for the purpose of averting bodily harm to himself or another person; 
  • At-fault driver has not maintained financial responsibility as required; 
  • Claims against a person in the business of designing, manufacturing, repairing, servicing or otherwise maintaining motor vehicles arising out of a defect in such motor vehicle which is caused by or not corrected by an act or omission in the course of such business, other than a defect in a motor vehicle which is operated by such business; and 
  • Victim injured while an occupant of a motor vehicle other than a private passenger motor vehicle.

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Out-of-State Driver Liability Resources in Pennsylvania

Automobile Insurance Guide | Pennsylvania Insurance Department — View a Pennsylvania Insurance Department guide discussing state automobile insurance laws. Learn more about which types of coverages are required and which are optional, as well as how rates are determined. You can also find information about options for people who are unable to obtain coverage. 

Peters v. National Interstate Insurance Company, 108 A.3d 38 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2014) — Michael Peters and his daughter were seriously injured in an accident in Kent County, Ohio. Peters was an Ohio resident employed as a truck driver by a Pennsylvania corporation that was issued a National Interstate commercial vehicle policy in Pennsylvania, although the truck Peters was driving was registered in Ohio and not principally garaged in Pennsylvania. The other driver's insurer paid the policy limits of $200,000.00, but the Peters' damages substantially exceeded $200,000. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania held that because Peters did not elect UIM coverage, they had no legally enforceable claim for UIM under Pennsylvania law.


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Find an Out-of-State Driver Liability Lawyer in West Chester, PA

Did you sustain sever injuries or was your loved one killed in a crash in southeastern Pennsylvania caused by a driver from another state? You will want to immediately contact Ciccarelli Law Offices. 

Our experienced personal injury attorneys in West Chester have office locations in Plymouth Square, Lancaster, Radnor, Kennett Square, Philadelphia, Springfield, Malvern, and King of Prussia. You can have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call (610) 719-3190 or submit an online contact form to take advantage of a free, no obligation consultation. 


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