Injury Law Basics for Utah Car Accident VictimsUtah Legal News
In the state of Utah, if you have been involved in any type of car accident that has left you with injuries or with damage to your vehicle, you will most likely want to know all of your options for receiving financial compensation. The best way for you to do that is by hiring a car accident attorney to help you.
It is important that you are familiar with some of the Utah laws that may potentially have a significant impact on your auto accident claim, should you decide to make one. It is also vital that you are aware of the legal responsibilities of Utah drivers when dealing with the reporting of a collision to local law enforcement.
Utah is currently one of 12 no-fault car insurance states. What this means is that after an auto accident, you usually are required to file any claim under your own coverage for personal injury protection in order to try to receive compensation for any doctor’s bills or other monetary losses that you may have suffered, no matter which driver was responsible for the crash. If and when your injury claim satisfies specific prerequisites you will then be able to move away from no-fault insurance and register a claim against the negligent driver directly.
If you or someone that you love has been injured in a car accident in the state of Utah, it is always going to be in your best interest to reach out to a qualified car accident attorney just as soon as you possibly can. A good car accident attorney will be in the best position to tell you if you are able to attempt to collect any financial compensation for losses such as doctor’s visits, lost time from work, therapy, and pain and suffering.
Utah Statute of Limitations
In Utah, for the purposes of personal injury law, each injury has what is known as a statute of limitations that applies to it. A statute of limitations is a time period given to a person who has suffered injury as the result of the negligence or intentional act of another to bring a lawsuit against the person who caused the injury. The severity of the injury is usually what defines the time clock on the statute of limitations.
For injuries that were sustained in a car accident, the state of Utah gives your four years to take the matter to civil court. Any driver, passenger, pedestrian, etc. who was injured in the accident has that same four-year time limit on them and the clock for that time starts on the day of the collision.
If someone died as a result of the car accident, then Utah allows for a two-year statute of limitations for any direct relative who may wish to bring about a wrongful death suit on the negligent party. This particular clock starts on the day that the car accident victim dies as opposed to the day that the accident occurred.
Lastly, if anyone has been inconvenienced with vehicle or property damage to any degree and wishes to file a civil suit in an attempt to collect financial compensation, then they are operating under a three-year time limit whose clock also begins on the very same day as the accident.
Even if you are 100% certain that your case is going to be easily solvable through the traditional car insurance claim method, you are going to want to make sure that you allow yourself enough time to be able to file a lawsuit in case you change your mind and suddenly decide that a lawsuit is the best course of action for you to take. If you think that you may possibly be cutting it too close to the deadline for filing the appropriate paperwork, then you will most likely want to get in touch with an experienced Utah car accident attorney.
Utah Comparative Negligence
What happens if you take your case to court and a jury decides that the other driver was mostly to blame, but that you also shared in some of that blame, meaning they consider the car accident to be partially your fault. What happens then?
According to their laws, Utah is a modified comparative negligence state. What this means is that yes, you will still be able to collect on damages from a lawsuit regarding your collision, however, your amount of financial compensation will be decreased in direct proportion to your contribution to the car accident. More importantly, your portion of the fault has to be less than half in order to be legally able to recover anything at all from the other negligent driver.
As an example, let’s say that the jury decides that your injuries, your pain and suffering, and other losses that you have suffered are worth a total of $20,000. The jury also thinks, however, that you were 10% accountable for the car crash happening. In this circumstance, the entire amount of your damages, $20,000 as decided by the jury, will then be reduced by the same 10% for the part the jury determined that you played in the accident (in this case $2,000) which would leave you with the total financial compensation of $18,000.
Judges and juries alike in the state of Utah, are restricted by the comparative negligence rule, provided that your auto accident lawsuit actually makes it into court. This rule will also affect the decisions of an insurance adjuster when they are assessing your claim.
It is also important to remember that since there are really no practical means of designating the blame, any judgment that claims that you are the negligent party will eventually boil down to your strength in negotiating with the insurance adjuster or in persuading a judge and a jury.
If you have been injured in a traffic accident, you need to talk to a practiced car accident attorney about your case. A car accident attorney will fight to get you the financial compensation that you are entitled to under the law. The personal injury attorneys here at Siegfried & Jensen have over thirty years worth of experience in helping victims recover from life-changing auto accidents and making sure that they collect the maximum amount of financial compensation for their losses.
Our clients are our family and we always do our best to get what is best for you. If you would be interested in a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys regarding your case, then please reach out to us by calling 801-845-9000 today.