Can I Receive Pain and Suffering Damages if State Law Allows only a Limited Tort?

In certain states, including Vermont and New Hampshire, you are able to choose between full tort coverage and limited tort coverage when purchasing car insurance. When you choose full tort coverage, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you have been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver. However, it is important to remember that this type of insurance coverage will be more expensive.

If you prefer more affordable payments, you can choose the limited tort option. This is essentially a no-fault option and as a result, you waive your right to file a lawsuit if you are injured in a car accident, even when the other driver is at fault. Under the limited tort system, you purchase personal injury protection coverage (PIP) which will cover your economic damages associated with the car accident, regardless of who is at fault. These typically include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages

Under the limited tort system, you are generally unable to recover compensation for pain and suffering or any other types of non-economic damages since you have waived your right to file a lawsuit. However, this area of law is highly complex, and there are certain exceptions.

Common exceptions to the limited tort system which may entitle you to pain and suffering damages include:

  • When death, permanent disfigurement, or serious impairment occurs
  • When the other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • When the other driver intentionally causes the car accident
  • When the other driver is operating a vehicle registered in another state
  • When the other driver has no insurance

The car accident lawyers at Van Dorn & Curtiss know the complex limited tort laws which apply in Vermont and New Hampshire. We will carefully evaluate your case to determine if you qualify for pain and suffering damages under one of these exceptions to the law. If so, we will fight aggressively to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Every case is unique, and even if you have limited tort coverage, it may be possible to pursue other avenues of compensation. Our attorneys will guide you through this complex process to ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.

Please contact Van Dorn & Curtiss today to schedule your free car accident consultation. We serve clients in New Hampshire and Vermont, including Concord, Manchester, and Nashua.


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