Pedestrians Injured By Automobiles in Pennsylvania Not Bound By Limited Tort

Posted in Personal Injury, Vehicle Accident

I have previously written about the various exceptions to limited tort in Pennsylvania as contained in 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1705.  These exceptions allow drivers who have selected the limited tort option on their auto insurance policy to recover damages for pain and suffering as if they had elected the full tort option.  The most commonly applied exceptions are where the driver who caused the accident is convicted of DUI or operating a motor vehicle that is registered in another state.  In 2005, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania effectively created an additional exception when it held that pedestrians injured by automobiles cannot be bound by the limited tort option.

In the case of L.S. v. Eschbach, 874 A.2d 1150, 1156-1157 (Pa. 2005), the Supreme Court considered whether an 11-year-old girl, hit by a car after exiting a school bus, was bound by her mother’s limited tort coverage. The Supreme Court determined that the girl, as an innocent pedestrian, was not bound by her mother’s limited tort election pursuant to § 1705. Id. at 1156. The Supreme Court noted that § 1705 is not written to apply to injured pedestrians, and a contrary result would do little to fulfill the legislature’s goal of promoting financial responsibility.  Id. at 1157.

If you or someone you know is injured in an automobile accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Stark & Stark for a free consultation.