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Utah Statute of Limitations Personal Injury


When a personal injury incident occurs, the lawsuit has a statute of limitations. Know the time limit in Utah from an experienced lawyer.

Understanding Utah Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

If you were injured in an accident in Utah due to someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. But you won’t have unlimited time to file a claim or lawsuit.

Personal injury law can be complex, and the statute of limitations that applies to your case depends on the type of accident you had, the type of damages you’re seeking, and the identity of the party responsible for your accident.

An experienced Provo personal injury law firm can determine what rules apply to your case. Most will provide a free consultation, so talk to a few to find a law firm that is right for you.

If you sustained serious injuries in an accident, whether a car accident, slip and fall, or motorcycle accident, you need to know how long after an accident you can sue according to Utah law. You will be barred from recovering any compensation if you miss the deadline.

What Are Personal Injury Cases?

A personal injury case is a civil lawsuit filed by an injured person (the plaintiff) to recover damages from a person who has caused them harm (the defendant). Most injury lawsuits occur in county court, although federal personal injury cases are possible.

Personal injury cases could arise from:

  • Car accidents

  • Truck accidents

  • Motorcycle accidents

  • Bicycle accidents

  • Construction accidents

  • Pedestrian accidents

  • Slip and fall accidents and other premises liability claims

  • Medical malpractice claims

  • Dog bites

  • Wrongful death

You could also have a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim if a party other than your employer contributed to your workplace accident.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is the maximum time you have to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file your case by the deadline, you lose your right to remedies provided under state law. Statutes of limitations exist for criminal offenses as well as civil actions.

In personal injury cases, the clock generally begins from the date of the accident that caused your injury. However, if you didn’t discover your injury until later, the criminal statutes of limitation could be extended. This is known as the “discovery rule.”

The law provides a remedy for injured victims to recover compensation from individuals or entities that caused them harm, and statutes of limitations exist to allow the lawsuit to proceed efficiently and fairly.

The more time passes from an accident, the harder it is to connect the victim’s injuries to the accident. Limitations also help protect defendants from unfair lawsuits being filed against them years after an accident.

What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Utah?

Under the Utah code, the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is four years. However, many circumstances could shorten or lengthen the time you have to file a lawsuit.

For example, lawsuits involving damage to personal property must be filed within three years. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against a county, city, or town is one year. Suing the state of Utah for injury or wrongful death? You’ll have two years to file suit. Lawsuits filed against government entities often have additional administrative or notice requirements.

Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Vary by State

Each state has its statute of limitations, and there are different deadlines even within a state for different types of actions. Personal injury law can be incredibly complex. There are even times when another state’s law could apply.

Suppose you’re on vacation in Idaho and get hurt at your hotel. Where do you file your lawsuit? What statute of limitations applies? A reputable law firm handling your case will ensure you don’t forfeit your right to recover compensation.

Can the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Be Extended in Utah?

Yes, in some circumstances. As mentioned above, the discovery rule could sometimes extend the time limits. The discovery rule often comes into play in medical malpractice cases when the patient discovers harm several months or even years after their medical treatment (or lack of treatment).

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

In most cases, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in Utah is two years from when the patient discovers, or with reasonable diligence, should have discovered, the injury. If the patient discovers the harm right away, such as in a case where a surgeon operated on the wrong body part, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the surgery.

However, if the patient didn’t discover the injury at the time of the medical provider’s negligent act, the statute of limitations may be extended to up to four years.

There are even exceptions to this exception. For example, suppose a surgeon left a sponge inside you during the operation. In that case, you must file a lawsuit within one year after you discovered or should have discovered that the foreign object was left inside after surgery.


Product Liability Statute of Limitations

The discovery rule may also apply when a defective product injures someone. In most cases, an injured party must file a product liability case in Utah within two years from when they discovered, or with reasonable due diligence should have discovered, the harm and its cause.

You can see why you need the assistance of a skilled lawyer to help you with your legal claims if you sustain a serious injury in Utah. Most law firms will offer you a free case evaluation, so you’ll be able to get some basic information about your case at no charge.

Is a Wrongful Death the Same as Personal Injury?

Not exactly. A wrongful death case is a type of personal injury case. It can be filed against a defendant after a victim suffered a fatal injury caused by the defendant’s negligence.

One major difference between a wrongful death case and a personal injury case is the statute of limitations. Under Utah state law, the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is two years. There are other significant differences, so consult an experienced Utah wrongful death attorney if you have lost a loved one in an accident.


Utah Statute of Limitations Examples

Here are some examples of how Utah’s statute could affect the time to file a legal action in certain circumstances:

  • You’re injured in a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver: 4 years
  • A tractor-trailer jackknifes and causes a multi-car pileup with multiple injuries: 4 years
  • You’re hit by a car while riding your bicycle: 4 years
  • Your spouse was killed in a fatal construction accident: 2 years
  • You suffered burns due to a defective cell phone battery: 2 years

Some accidents may involve multiple statutes of limitations, such as a vehicle accident that was caused by a defective tire. In that case, the injured victim could file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver and a product liability claim against the tire manufacturer.


Contact a Utah Personal Injury Attorney

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s important to speak with an experienced West Valley City, Utah, personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you consult with a lawyer, the better your chances of preserving evidence and building a strong case.

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.

What Crimes Have No Statute of Limitations in Utah?

Some crimes in Utah can be prosecuted at any time, regardless of how long ago they were committed. These include:

  • Capital felony

  • Murder

  • Aggravated murder

  • Manslaughter

  • Rape

  • Child sexual abuse

  • Child abuse homicide

  • Aggravated sexual abuse of a child

  • Aggravated exploitation of prostitution involving a child

  • Child kidnapping

  • Aggravated human trafficking or aggravated human smuggling in violation of Section 76-5-310

  • Aggravated kidnapping

  • Sodomy on a child

  • Forcible sodomy

  • Object rape

  • Object rape of a child

  • Forcible sexual abuse

  • Forcible sexual abuse of a child

If you have been the victim of any of these crimes or suspect that you have been, you should contact a law enforcement agency and/or an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

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