Columbia County Attorney Discusses Car Accidents and Insurance
If you are involved in a car accident in Columbia County in which a person is injured or there is damage to the vehicles or other property, you must stop, call the police and give information and assistance. There are criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, if you do not stop at the scene of an accident in which you are involved. Your first duty is to render assistance to anyone injured in the accident, if you are able. You must then notify the nearest police station. You are required to give your name, address, automobile registration number and upon request, show your insurance or financial responsibility information and your drivers license. If the police do not investigate at the scene of the accident, you must notify the police department closest to the accident as soon as possible.
What Is the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Insurance Law?
The Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Insurance Law, effective July 1, 1990, provides basic minimum protection for accident victims. Two types of insurance coverage can be purchased, which are known as limited tort option and full tort option. Those who select the limited tort option, or those individuals who are bound by someone else's selection of limited tort, may not bring an action for non-economic damages, or "pain and suffering," unless they have suffered a "serious injury."
A serious injury is defined by law as a personal injury resulting in death, permanent and serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of bodily function. There are a few other exceptions to the limited tort option. Those who select the full tort option may bring an action for pain and suffering for all types of injuries. All motor vehicle owners must prove they have "financial responsibility" to be able to register their vehicles. Financial responsibility means that you, the owner, are able to pay for damages cause by you or another driver of your car. You can show financial responsibility by buying insurance or by certifying to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that you can pay for up to $15,000 for injuries to one person in one accident, $30,000 for injuries to more than one person in one accident, and for $5,000 in damages to someone else's property. Insurance is the only practical way for most vehicle owners to meet these requirements.
For more information, contact a Columbia County injury attorney at Law Offices of Kreisher & Gregorowicz at (570) 784-5211.