An Overview of § 1754 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

Pennsylvania's Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) Section § 1754 "Additional coverage" outlines when an eligible claimant without any other source of uninsured motorist coverage may claim losses or damages up to a maximum of $15,000 per individual and $30,000 aggregate per accident.

Statutory Text

§ 1754. Additional coverage.

An eligible claimant who has no other source of applicable uninsured motorist coverage and is otherwise entitled to recover in an action in tort against a party who has failed to comply with this chapter may recover for losses or damages suffered as a result of the injury up to $15,000 subject to an aggregate limit for all claims arising out of any one motor vehicle accident of $30,000. If a claimant recovers medical benefits under section 1753 (relating to benefits available), the amount of medical benefits recovered or recoverable up to $5,000 shall be set off against any amounts recoverable in this section.

Define Key Terms:

Eligible claimant:

This refers to a person who is qualified to make a claim under the law, which would involve someone who has sustained damage or injury due to the actions of an uninsured motorist.

Action in tort:

This refers to legal action seeking to hold someone responsible for causing harm or damage. In this context, that person would be an uninsured driver who has caused an accident.

Aggregate limit:

This term refers to the maximum amount that can be paid out for all claims resulting from a single accident. In this case, it is set at $30,000.

Set off:

This term refers to the act of deducting one amount (in this case, medical benefits up to $5,000) from another (the uninsured motorist claim).

Significance for Pennsylvanian Drivers:

This section is significant for drivers in Pennsylvania as it provides a means of financial recovery if they're involved in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist. It emphasizes the importance of supplemental coverage in an uninsured motorist action and its relationship with medical benefits.

Significance for Pennsylvania Attorneys:

Attorneys need to be familiar with the specificity of this section because it outlines the potential recovery options for their clients who are victims of uninsured motorists. Knowledge of this section is particularly important for determining strategies related to uninsured motorist claims and medical benefit offsets.

Advanced Analysis:

The language used in this section of the MVFRL is quite specific ensuring clarity and limiting ambiguity. It precisely identifies who is eligible to make a claim and under what circumstances. The statute also creates a clear framework for calculating potential damages, with the set off provision ensuring that claimants do not double-dip by claiming for medical benefits and then the same amounts under uninsured motorist claims. Furthermore, the mention of an aggregate limit guards against excessive claims that could potentially arise from a single accident.

The language of "who has no other source of applicable uninsured motorist coverage" underlines the conditional eligibility of the claimant. However, some ambiguity might arise around the phrase "otherwise entitled to recover in an action in tort," suggesting that the claimant’s right to recover under this section could be interpreted narrowly or broadly, depending on prevailing tort law norms.

The cross-reference to section 1753 about "benefit available" reaffirms the connection between uninsured motorist coverage and the claimant's medical coverage, reminding both the insured party and their attorney to account for any medical benefits into the calculation of total recoverable compensation from uninsured motorist coverage.

The law's effective date (Oct. 1, 1984) indicates the rules retroactively apply to all claims made after that date, yet there is no mention of revising or adjusting the stated coverage amounts over time, which raises an issue considering the inflation and increased cost in medical services over the years.

About the author
Von Wooding, Esq.

Von Wooding, Esq.

Lawyer and Founder

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