Understanding Utah’s Car Accident Laws: What You Need to Know
To say car accidents in Utah are dangerous would be an understatement. Accident-related injuries and fatalities are disturbingly common in the state, with a person dying in a crash every 33 hours.
It can be hard to keep calm after a car accident. After all, you’ve just been through a traumatic experience and are likely dazed. However, if you want to recover your losses, you must remember that time is of the essence. Acting quickly can ensure your safety, preserve evidence, and aid your insurance claim.
But first, you should understand your options for getting compensation. And that’s why we’ll discuss a few Utah laws that can heavily impact any car accident claim you make.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
A Quick Guide to Utah’s Car Accident Laws
Getting into a car accident in Utah can change your life forever. Regardless of who’s at fault, you might have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. Here are a few state laws to know in this regard.
1. You Are Legally Required to Report a Car Accident in Utah
Under Utah Law, drivers involved in a car accident are legally obligated to report it to local law enforcement by the quickest means possible. If they cannot notify the police right away, they must do so at the first chance they get.
Remember, you don’t want much time to pass before the crash is officially documented. The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll lose evidence.
The official accident report will record crucial information like:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Names, addresses, and licenses of all involved parties
- Make, model, and plates of all the vehicles
- Name and badge number of the investigating officer
- Insurance information of all the drivers
A word of advice. Take photos of the accident, including any property damage or bodily injuries. You can combine these with the police report to support your personal injury claims.
2. Utah is a No-Fault Insurance State
Utah is one of the many American states that follow a no-fault insurance scheme. Simply put, injured drivers and passengers must turn to their own personal injury protection (PIP) providers to seek compensation for lost income, medical bills, and other out-of-pocket expenses, regardless of who’s at fault for the crash.
A claim against the at-fault driver is only possible in certain scenarios, such as when your injuries are too severe.
Note that only economic damages fall under no-fault insurance coverage. You cannot claim for unquantifiable things like pain and suffering.
Again, these guidelines can be confusing for the uninitiated. It’s best to consult a car accident attorney in Utah to understand your options and make informed decisions.
3. It’s Illegal to Flee the Accident Site
All motorists involved in a car accident must remain at or near the collision scene till law enforcement arrive. Additionally, you must:
- Share your name, registration, and insurance information with the other parties
- Help the injured receive medical attention
Leaving the crash site before the police show up can be considered a hit-and-run unless you need urgent medical care. Since this can have severe civil and criminal consequences, we recommend you stay put at the scene.
4. Utah Follows a Comparative Negligence Rule
Picture this: you’re seriously injured in a car accident, and your case goes to court. The jury decides that while the other driver was responsible for the accident, you too were partly at fault. What happens next?
Utah has a modified comparative negligence law, which states that your settlement will be reduced based on your share of negligence in the accident. More importantly, you must be less than 50% at fault for the crash to claim damages.
For example, if the jury thinks you’re 10% responsible for the crash, you’ll only receive 90% of your damages from the at-fault driver.
The comparative negligence rule will guide your car insurance claims adjuster when they’re evaluating your case. It will also bind Utah judges and juries if your case makes it to trial.
5. There Are No Damage Caps
Unlike certain types of claims in Utah, motor vehicle accident injuries have no specified cap. You can recover unlimited damages based on how skillful your attorney is. And that’s exactly why you should work with a Utah car accident lawyer from Henriksen & Henriksen.
We’re known for our personal attention and detail in each case. Our team never hesitates to go the distance for our clients and defend their right to fair compensation. With our experience and expertise on your side, you don’t have to worry at all. Discuss your case with our car accident attorneys in Utah, and let us help you.
6. Utah Car Accident Claims Have a Statute of Limitations
Often, you won’t have infinite hours on the clock to file a car accident lawsuit in Utah. You’ll have to consider the statute of limitations.
A statute of limitations is a state law that sets limits on how much time you have to file an insurance claim. For instance, the statute of limitations for car accidents in Utah is four years.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
- Wrongful Death: After a fatal car accident in Utah, family members of the victims have two years to file a wrongful death action.
- Property Damage: Claims involving property damage must be filed within three years of the crash.
- Government-related Claims: Insurance claims against a government agency should go through within a year after the crash.
The last thing you’d want is for the statute of limitations on your case to run out. Once it does, you’ll have no right to file a personal injury claim, demand accountability, or recover compensation from the at-fault driver.
The Bottom Line
Car accidents in Utah can be brutal. You probably have debilitating injuries to worry about, bills to pay, and lost wages to account for. But if there’s one thing attorneys can take off your plate, it’s the fight to secure fair compensation.
Hiring a car accident attorney in Utah can help increase the odds of a successful result and maximize your chances of financial recovery.
The team at Henriksen & Henriksen has won life-changing settlements for several clients like you. Our car accident attorneys in Utah are the best in the game and can help you fight for the settlement you deserve. Get in touch with us to schedule a consultation today!