Philadelphia Car Crash Lawyer Has Special Damage Claims Advice for Drivers Injured in a Rental Car Crash in Pennsylvania that Insurance Claims Adjusters Won’t Tell You About
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on February 20th, 2019
I always say that automobile insurance companies and insurance claims adjusters do not have the interests of injured motorists in mind.
This was again evident recently when two separate clients came to me here at MyPhillyLawyer after being seriously injured in vehicle accidents and filing claims.
The first client was injured while driving a rental car, which was struck by another vehicle being driven by another motorist. After being injured in the crash, our client sought immediate medical treatment for various injuries, which he sought through his own vehicle insurance coverage as is the case in Pennsylvania. The client had a limited tort policy for his own vehicle, which means that he is covered for injuries but cannot sue for noneconomic damages for pain and suffering beyond his economic damages unless his injuries are deemed to be a serious injury.
But since the accident and injuries occurred in a rental car, the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), also known as Title 75, has a twist in the insurance laws.
In the case of an accident in a rental car or any other vehicle that is not a private passenger vehicle under Title 75, an injured victim automatically has full tort coverage, meaning that an injured party can sue for pain and suffering for any injury even if their private vehicle is only covered by limited tort through their insurance company. That’s the law in Pennsylvania and it is laid out right there in the statutes and definitions for Title 75.
After my office submitted a summary of his injuries a claims adjuster advised me that she would not pay for my client’s pain and suffering since he did not sustain a serious injury and he was bound by his limited tort selection.
I contacted the insurance claims adjuster and told her she was dead wrong under Pennsylvania’s statutes. I sent the claims adjuster a copy of the Title 75 statute and marked all the pertinent points to show that my client was eligible for full tort protection under the law.
The claims adjuster responded, telling me she had been doing her job for nine years and had been routinely denying such claims.
In my email reply to the claim adjuster’s completely incorrect interpretation of the law, I made it clear that things would be different for her this time.
“Attached please find the PA statute MVFRL that clearly and unequivocally preempts rental vehicles from the tort scheme in Pennsylvania,” I wrote. “I can only shake my head and smile when you tell me you’ve been adjusting cases for 9 years and have routinely denied claims on a tort basis that involve rental vehicles. I’m not sure what is more disturbing – a 9-year adjuster whose sole job is to understand basic motor vehicle laws in Pennsylvania and can’t comprehend such a simple principal – or the incompetent attorneys who’ve allowed you to get away with this nonsense.”
I am still waiting to hear back from the adjuster in this case. I also mentioned in my email that if the adjuster continued to deny our client’s full tort claim that I will add bad faith to our lawsuit against the insurance company.
Another similar case also recently arose, this time involving a bicyclist in Camden, N.J., who was struck by a motor vehicle which continued on after striking the cyclist. The rider was injured and not able to identify the vehicle.
Under the bicyclist’s own motor vehicle policy, he filed a claim for his injuries, which was not accepted by the insurance company. The company said that since the insured victim was on a bicycle, that the crash was not a motor vehicle accident, even though he had uninsured motorist coverage. The victim’s insurance agent refused to file a claim.
That argument, however, is wrong, according to the victim’s own insurance policy. In this case, since the bicyclist was injured by a motor vehicle that struck him, the crash is considered a motor vehicle accident, even though the victim himself was on a bicycle. That’s what the victim’s policy stated.
In support of our injured client, I had to call the manager of the insurance company’s claims department and read to him the language in the company’s own policy.
There are lessons to be learned in both of these outrageous cases, from the rental car injuries to the injured bicyclist.
Injured victims cannot assume that the insurance agents who sell, service and adjust claims on these policies actually and fully understand the policies they are writing and trying to interpret. Not every insurance agent and not every lawyer knows how these issues actually work.
That’s why it is so critically important to find an attorney who does understand these situations and who has handled thousands of insurance claims for their clients. If you as an injured victim want to have someone who can help you and protect you then you must talk to a lawyer who knows how these cases are fought by insurance companies to minimize their claims payouts.
The fact is there are no incentives for an insurance agent to sell you the best policy for you and your family. Instead, they want to sell you the cheapest policy because there will be fewer claims payouts for policies that include lesser coverages.
This is the kind of information you need to be armed with as you buy insurance to protect your loved ones. Often callers to my Court Radio call-in radio show will read me their policies over the air and we will discuss strategies to improve their coverages for minimal additional costs. That’s something that every motorist should review on a regular basis to ensure that their coverages are adequate for their needs.
Legal cases like this one occur around the nation every day and are examples of similar kinds of car crash cases that MyPhillyLawyer attorneys regularly work on tirelessly for our own clients. Often, we are not able to discuss the cases we are actively working on due to confidentiality requirements, so we discuss relevant cases in the news to illustrate the legal situations people find themselves in every day.
When you need a car accident injury attorney, we here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in any kind of car crash, slip and fall, workplace injury or wrongful death in Philadelphia or anywhere in the United States. We pledge to make sure that you and your family get the compassionate, dogged and experienced legal representation that you deserve and expect from a professional legal team which works hard to uncover every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.
We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Talk to a Philadelphia car crash attorney at MyPhillyLawyer by calling 215-914-5471 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.
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Listen to Court Radio every Sunday at 7 a.m. with me, attorney Dean Weitzman of MyPhillyLawyer, on Philadelphia’s Old School 100.3 WRNB, Boom 103.9 or on Classix 107.9 WPPZ FM. Listen to Court Radio online or on the radio every week for the latest on legal topics and to get answers to your legal questions. In addition to addressing the topical issues of the day, we’ll answer caller questions on a wide range of legal issues.