Tort Q & A

Questions and Comments from Clients:

I am not sue happy, so I don’t need full tort.

I would not define many people I’ve met as ‘sue happy.’ Tort is more about what is important to you. Things like facial scars don’t have monetary value. I’m not a very self-conscious person with my image, but if I developed a nasty scar on my face I might want some compensation for that. Makeup is something I don’t buy now, and from what I know that stuff isn’t cheap!

Would you feel differently if it was your child that developed that facial scar that they are living with for the rest of their life? Your kids get what you picked for them in car insurance until they are old enough to have their own policies!

What if I have limited tort and I’m paralyzed?

Remember in the definition there are some cases where intangible losses are able to be recovered. Serious injury is one of those. Here’s the problem. What exactly is serious injury, and who defines it? Unfortunately, it’s a gray area, and something that fluctuates from time to time. Sure, the biggies can be consistent, paralysis, loss of a limb, loss of eyesight, death, but what about things that are serious to you but not verifiable? Neck pain, back pain, migraines. There are no tests you can go have done that definitively shows you are having a migraine and what the severity is. It’s all in how you feel, which is subjective.

While we’re on the exceptions, let’s talk about the other few… First, if the at-fault driver is from a state that doesn’t have tort. This is just because counter-suing is a normal court practice, and since that other driver wasn’t given an option to select a limited tort, they are getting full so you do too. Second, if you are involved in a pedestrian accident. If someone bowls you over with their car, or even just bumps you, that is a full tort accident. Third, if the at fault party was committing a crime. I think of the big ones like DUI or evading policy, but, it’s still to be determined if they actually have to be charged with the crime and have it stick.

Am I stuck with whatever I pick forever?

Nope, not at all. You are able to change your selection at any time during your policy, except the day after something happens that you wanted what you don’t have. Changing the tort option requires a policy endorsement (our fancy insurance word for making the change) along with your signature on an acknowledgement form, and can only be updated moving forward from the day we speak with you.

What do you recommend?

Legally, we as insurance professionals are not allowed to tell you which one to buy. We can explain the policy language, give real life examples, and tell you what we do ourselves, but you have to make the decision on your own. If you still aren’t sure, have more conversation with your agent.