RICHARD D. LINDERMAN
Richard D. Linderman, Esq is a graduate of Pottstown High School, West Chester University, and received his law degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He resides with his wife, Virginia, in Pottstown and is the father of one daughter and grandfather of two grandsons and a granddaughter.
Mr. Linderman is a Senior Partner of O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C., and his areas of practice include Litigation, Estate Planning and Estate Administration. He has been very active in the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce, having served as its pro bono solicitor for 25 years. In addition, he has taught at Penn State Berks Campus and Montgomery County Community College, West Campus.
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The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship.
Recently, OWM Law presented a PCTV television series which addressed the issue of what motor vehicle insurance coverage you should have for yourself, your family and others who may be injured in a motor vehicle accident. Richard Linderman who heads the litigation team at OWM Law invited Leo E. Dallas, CIC, of Reed-Dallas Insurance Agency, and Christopher M. Laskey of the Ron Black Agency/Laskey Group, as guests on the OWM monthly television show to address two primary areas of insurance coverage. Mr. Linderman has found in his 40 years of law practice that approximately three-quarters of the potential clients he has seen at OWM Law who were involved in a serious personal injury matter or accident have been underinsured in his professional opinion. Therefore, OWM Law, along with Mr. Dallas and Mr. Laskey, discussed insurance coverages that you should have for yourself and your family.
The first topic discussed was “Full Tort” v. “Limited Tort.” A tort is a civil wrongdoing, such as someone driving negligently and causing a motor vehicle accident, and the end result is someone or several people being seriously injured. A civil wrongdoing is different from a criminal wrongdoing. A criminal wrongdoing is a crime and is punishable by a fine, probation or incarceration. A tort, or a civil wrongdoing, can be addressed with money damages. If you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident as a result of the negligence of another party, you may file a claim or a lawsuit against the negligent party and make a claim for money damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
The tort issue was addressed primarily by Mr. Dallas, and he pointed out that it makes more sense that you would get more coverage from a “full tort option” than you would from a “limited tort option.” Mr. Dallas stated that the “head of the household” usually purchases the insurance coverage for the family; and therefore, has to make an election. The head of the household can either elect “full tort” or “limited tort.”
If you, as the head of the household, select the full tort option, you or any member of your family who is injured as a result of another negligent party can bring a claim and/or file a lawsuit against the negligent party for money damages in all cases when you have elected full tort. The money damages can be for economic losses, such as the loss of income, or damage to an automobile. These are economic losses. In addition to economic damages, Mr. Dallas pointed out that if you elect the full tort option, you may bring a claim or file a lawsuit for noneconomic damages, which would be pain and suffering and/or the loss of a limb or bodily organ. On the other hand, if you elect the limited tort option, you are limited in filing a claim or a lawsuit unless you have serious and permanent injuries or disfigurement. When Mr. Linderman asked Mr. Dallas what the difference would be as far as the premium is concerned for both full tort or limited tort, Mr. Dallas stated in general terms, the full tort option would probably cost somewhere in the area of 18 to 22 percent more as opposed to the cost of limited tort. Mr. Dallas highly recommended full tort. Mr. Laskey agreed with Mr. Dallas.
The second issue that was discussed in the March show was that of medical coverage. Medical coverage is considered a first party benefit which means the coverage extends to you as the owner of the car and to each of your family members as well. In Pennsylvania, the minimum amount of medical coverage you can buy is $5,000.00 and the maximum is $100,000.00. With the skyrocketing costs of medical care, Mr. Laskey stated that his office highly recommends the maximum coverage of $100,000.00. You do not want to rely on your employer’s health coverage, since many times there are substantial deductibles which you would have to pay out-of-pocket. If you purchase $100,000.00 in medical coverage for each of your vehicles, the cost would be an additional $33.00 per vehicle per year to purchase $100,000.00 of coverage versus $10,000.00.
The medical coverage applies to you and your family members who are injured in an automobile accident if the other driver was negligent or if you were negligent in causing the accident. That is why it is called first party coverage. You purchase medical coverage for you and your family, and it is applicable when the other driver is negligent and causes your family’s injuries or if you are negligent and you cause your family’s injuries. Each family member who is injured in an automobile accident in your family car would be covered with $100,000.00 worth of medical coverage. There would be no deductibles or co-pays. Medical coverage will pay for medical provider bills for you and any member of your family who is injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident - - no matter whose fault or negligence caused the accident.
All new policy holders that the Laskey Group talks to nowadays are quoted the medical coverage of $100,000.00 because the Laskey Group believes you should have sufficient medical coverage for you and all of your family members and not have to worry about whether or not your employer’s hospitalization will cover you. In many cases, the hospitalization coverage that an employer carries for its employees has subrogation rights, which means that if you bring an action against a negligent third party and collect a settlement or get an award of money damages, you would have to pay back to your employer’s hospitalization carrier the payments they made for your hospital and doctor bills. This also applies to Medicare. If you are 65 and over, and rely on Medicare as your primary medical carrier, and if Medicare pays any of your medical bills associated with a motor vehicle accident where you were injured and the other party was negligent, Medicare will seek to be paid back for any medical provider bills that were incurred by you and your family members out of any settlement you might have with the negligent party’s insurance carrier. Medicare is not in the business of paying for injuries when you have a claim/lawsuit against a negligent party.
Mr. Dallas, Mr. Laskey and Mr. Linderman all highly recommend that you check with your insurance broker as to whether or not you have full tort or limited tort, and whether or not you have the minimum coverage for medical bills or the maximum coverage of $100,000.00. If you do not have full tort and you do not have $100,000.00 worth of medical coverage, Messrs. Dallas, Laskey and Linderman recommend that you seriously consider revising your motor vehicle insurance coverage to include full tort and $100,000.00 medical coverage.
If you would care to discuss the above in detail, please call me at 610-323-2800 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please watch OWM's March 2014 Legal Talk program regarding Automobile Insurance Coverages for Your Family and Your Vehicles - Part 1 on our website here.
Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esq., has been appointed to the Board of Directors of The Foundation for Pottstown Education, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide opportunities for children in the Pottstown School District not afforded by the school district budget.
Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., co-planner and presenter of Pennsylvania Bar Institute's “What Every Attorney Needs to Know About Alzheimer's Disease” on 3/12/14 in Mechanicsburg, PA, and on 3/19/14 in Philadelphia, PA (contact PBI at 1-800-247-4724).
Michael B. Murray, Jr., Esq., speaking on Real Estate Assessment Appeals at Representative Mark Painter's tax day on 3/27/14 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., 146th Legislative District, 600 Heritage Drive, Suite 102, Sanatoga, PA (contact Representative Mark Painter's office at 610-326-9563).
David A. Megay, Esq., speaking at Chester County Night School Seminars at Owen J. Roberts High School, Pottstown, PA, on 3/26/14 entitled "Ask the Lawyer: Starting Your Own Business" and on 4/30/14 entitled "Ask the Lawyer: Buying and Selling Real Estate in PA" (contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online at www.chestercountynightschool.org).
Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., participating as a panelist for the Chestnut Knoll “Me and My Parents” series on 4/4/2014 at Greenfield Senior Living, Schwenksville, PA. The topic is "Getting Your Affairs in Order." (RSVP is required - contact Susan Knoble at email@example.com or 610-933-0660).
David A. Megay, Esq., speaking at SCORE Business Planning Seminar on 4/21/14 at 7:00 p.m., New York Plaza Building, Basement, 244 East High Street, Pottstown, PA (contact SCORE at 610-327-2673).
Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., speaking at Chester County Night School Seminars at Owen J. Roberts High School, Pottstown, PA, on 4/9/14 entitled "Elder Law Issues" and on 4/30/14 entitled "Beyond the Simple Will," and at West Chester B. Reed Henderson High School, West Chester, PA on 4/16/14 entitled "Elder Law Issues"(contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online at www.chestercountynightschool.org).
Watch Legal Talk, brought to you by OWM, on PCTV, Tuesdays at 8:30 on Channel 28, and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on Channel 98, or on our website here.