What You Need to Know About Utah Car Accident Laws
Utah car accident laws can be complicated. If you’ve been in a car accident, here’s how our accident lawyers can help you file a personal injury claim.
Utah Automobile Accident Laws
Getting into a car accident in Utah can change your life forever. Regardless of who’s at fault, you may have the right to recover compensation for your bodily injury claims. However, many car accident laws in Utah can affect your rights and ability to get the money you deserve.
Here’s what you need to know.
You’re Legally Required to Report a Collision in Utah
Under Utah state law, car accidents that result in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000 must be reported immediately and by the “quickest means possible” to local law enforcement.
You must call the police (or 911) if you are involved in a crash. If, for some reason, you’re unable to report the accident right away, you’re legally required to notify law enforcement at your earliest opportunity.
If you’ve been injured, it’s best to report an accident immediately. You don’t want much time to pass before your accident is documented and recorded. Evidence can get lost or destroyed as time goes by. Witness memories fade and change, too.
When an officer is dispatched to the scene to investigate, the accident report they generate will provide critical information when your car accident lawyer begins to pursue damages on your behalf.
The police report will document important information, like:
- date, time, and location of the accident;
- names, addresses, and driver’s license numbers of everyone involved;
- make, model, and license plate number of all vehicles involved;
- name and badge number of the investigating officer; and
- insurance information for all drivers involved.
If you can, take photos of the accident scene with your phone. Be sure to get pictures of any property damage and bodily injuries. These photos will help support your personal injury claims.
You’re Prohibited From Leaving the Scene of a Utah Car Accident
Utah law requires all motorists involved in accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage to remain at (or near) the collision scene.
In addition to staying at the scene, you’re required to:
- Exchange your name, registration, and insurance information with other parties
- Help injury victims get medical attention
Unless you have to leave for medical treatment, leaving the scene before police arrive can be considered a hit and run, which can have severe civil and criminal consequences.
Utah is a No-Fault Car Accident State
Insurance will be your primary source of compensation after you’re involved in a car accident in Utah. Utah is one of 12 states to adopt a “no-fault” system for auto insurance.
This means drivers must file a car accident claim with their insurance provider and seek benefits from their insurance policy after an accident, regardless of who caused the crash.
Under Utah law, you’re legally required to purchase an auto insurance policy that satisfies these minimum requirements:
- Bodily Injury Coverage: $25,000 per person, $65,000 per accident
- Property Damage Coverage: $15,000 per accident
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $3,000 per person
You can purchase a policy with higher limits and/or add on other protection – like uninsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, or comprehensive coverage. After an accident, you can recover compensation up to your policy limits.
Only economic damages – medical bills and lost wages – are available under your no-fault insurance coverage. You cannot recover from things like pain and suffering.
What Happens if Your Damages Exceed Your Policy Limits?
If you’ve racked up at least $3,000 in medical bills or have suffered a “serious injury,” you reserve the right to file a lawsuit against the other driver’s insurance company (the at-fault driver).
In a lawsuit or third-party insurance claim, you can seek non-economic damages for the emotional distress and anguish you’ve experienced because of your auto accident.
A serious injury is defined as one that results in dismemberment, permanent disability, permanent impairment, or permanent disfigurement. If you’ve suffered an injury of this magnitude, your medical bills will easily exceed $3,000.
Knowing how to navigate Utah’s car insurance system can be difficult, especially when dealing with a painful physical injury. It can be essential to turn to a trusted Utah car accident attorney near you for help to ensure that you’re able to secure all of the compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Lawsuits in Utah
You won’t have unlimited time to file a lawsuit after a car accident in Utah. The state has a four-year statute of limitations that typically applies to car accident lawsuits. Generally, you must file your civil lawsuit within four years of the date of your crash.
There are some exceptions:
Wrongful death lawsuit: after a fatal car accident in Utah, family members have two years from the date of a loved one’s death to file a wrongful death action
Property damage: claims involving property damage must be filed within three years of the date of a collision
Government claims: a lawsuit against a government agency in Utah must be filed within one year of the date of a car crash
You don’t want the deadline that applies to your case to expire before you take action. Once the statute of limitations runs out, so does your right to file a bodily injury claim, demand accountability, and secure compensation from an at-fault driver.
Sharing Fault Can Affect Your Ability to Recover Compensation After a Car Accident in Utah
Sharing fault can affect your ability to recover compensation for car accident injuries. Utah has adopted a modified comparative negligence system with a 50 percent bar to recovery. You will automatically lose your right to recover compensation from a third party if you’re assigned half or more of the blame for your crash.
Sharing less than 50 percent of the blame for a collision won’t bar a financial recovery. However, it will affect how much money you can get. Your damages will be reduced based on your role in the wreck. If you’re assigned a 10 percent fault, your financial recovery will be reduced by 10 percent to reflect that.
What to Expect From a Personal Injury Attorney After an Auto Accident in Utah
Our auto accident lawyers in Utah can handle many important tasks on your behalf, including:
- Investigating the crash to identify all at-fault parties and insurance coverage
- Gathering evidence to establish negligence and liability
- Calculating the full value of your economic and non-economic damages
- Filing all required paperwork with the court
- Meeting important deadlines throughout your case
- Representing you in settlement negotiations and at trial, if necessary
- Advocating on your behalf to ensure that your rights are protected
Our Utah Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You Make the Most of Your Personal Injury Claim
You don’t have to figure out how Utah’s car accident laws work or how they might apply to your case. After all, you’re dealing with a serious injury and should have the opportunity to concentrate on getting better. Hiring a personal injury attorney can increase the odds of a successful result and help you maximize your financial recovery.
Contact Accident Attorneys of America for immediate legal assistance after you get hurt. You’ll benefit from the insight of experienced Salt Lake City car accident lawyers who have helped clients like you win life-changing settlements and jury awards. We’re ready to help you fight to get the compensation you deserve.
Our team offers a free consultation and is available to schedule yours right now.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I Still Get a Lawyer for an Accident That Was My Fault?
Yes, it would be best if you still got a lawyer. In addition to investigating the extent of your fault, an experienced truck accident lawyer will negotiate with your insurance company to resolve the claim.
What Is the Most Common Injury in a Truck Accident?
The most common injuries in a truck accident are spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, head and neck injuries, and broken bones.
A truck or even a semi-truck accident can cause fatal and life-long injuries. For your medical expenses to be adequately covered, ensure that you wait until the end of the anticipated recovery period before settling your truck accident case.