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Pa. Top Court Gives Uninsured Drivers Right To Sue If Injured

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Tim Jimenez Tim Jimenez
Tim Jimenez is a general assignment reporter at KYW Newsradio...
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By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If an uninsured driver gets injured after being hit by a driver who is covered, can the uninsured driver sue for damages?

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court says yes.

The issue stems from a 2006 incident in Bristol (Bucks County), Pa. An uninsured driver was on Route 413 when her car was hit by a driver who did have insurance.

The uninsured driver was injured and tried to sue the other driver. So the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had to decide, “Can you collect from someone else when it’s their fault but you didn’t fulfill your social obligation to buy insurance?” explains University of Pennsylvania law professor Tom Baker.

Because of conflicting sections in Pennsylvania law, the case went to the state Supreme Court. This week they unanimously decided that yes, the uninsured driver can sue an insured driver who’s at fault.

But Baker says you can only get so much.

“You just get economic damages,” he says, “meaning basically lost wages and medical expenses. “But you can’t get ‘pain and suffering,’ or what people call non-economic damages.”

And if you’re uninsured, but at fault, this ruling still won’t help you.

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