February 2016 Liability Limits Update

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This month’s update for Pennsylvania practitioner’s will break from the normal practice of commenting on a case law driven development in the law and instead will address an important legislative issue.  As we all know, unless you’re an insurance carrier there is not much argument that Pennsylvania’s minimum automobile liability insurance limits of $15,000/$30,000 are outdated.  Not only do these drastically low limits prevent injured drivers from obtaining full compensation from at-fault drivers when they are viewed in conjunction with the constant drumbeat from insurance agents and brokers encouraging their policyholders to SAVE MONEY by electing limited tort and waiving underinsured coverage, it creates numerous occasions where innocent parties are left with no real compensation.

Thankfully, legislation is currently pending in the House of Representatives to increase the limits to $25,000/$50,000 (which is what we have up here in NY).  While the bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 46-3 we encourage you to keep the issue fresh in the minds of your clients/family/friends to try and get the bill passed in 2016.  If you want to take that extra step and “lobby” for passage, the PAJ has compiled a list of excellent talking points to help crystalize the negative impacts the low limits have on Pennsylvanians as well as to rebut the insurance carriers’ cries of an increased limit creating more claims, insurance company poverty and increased rates.

While we as New York residents can promise you that passage of the bill will not stop the carriers from stonewalling on the new $25,000 minimum limits cases now that they would be faced with an additional $10K of exposure, every dollar helps your clients in the long run and gives you a little more ammunition to fight to bring their case to resolution.