Pennsylvania is one of a dozen states (plus the District of Columbia) that uses a “no-fault” system when it comes to financial responsibility for injuries one sustains in a car accident. In a no-fault state, a driver usually turns to his or her own insurance policy to get compensation for injuries up to the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Another wrinkle in Pennsylvania is that drivers have the option of choosing between no-fault insurance and traditional insurance coverage. Going the traditional coverage route means that all options are on the table after a car accident. You can sue the at-fault driver, but by doing so you are opening yourself up to a lawsuit if you are to blame for the accident.
If a driver chooses no-fault, a liability claim or lawsuit against the other driver can still proceed, but only if the accident involved a “serious injury” under Pennsylvania state law, which usually means something more than soft tissue injury. A “serious injury” in Pennsylvania typically requires serious impairment of a body function or permanent and serious disfigurement,
Keep in mind that the no-fault rules only apply to personal injury. If you have suffered property damage as a result of the accident, the at-fault driver can still be on the financial hook for those losses.