If you recently suffered injuries in an auto accident in Utah for no fault of your own, you can exercise certain legal rights.
You might be wondering how much time you have left to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Knowing about this is crucial. Let too much time pass after the accident, and you might not be able to take any legal action.
The not-so-simple answer to this question is: it depends. Ask any qualified auto accident attorney in Utah, and one of the first things they’ll consider is the statute of limitations.
Generally, every state has its own rules and statute of limitations for filing auto accident claims. In this post, we’ll shed light on the statute of limitations for auto accidents in Utah.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a type of law that places the maximum time limit for disputing parties to start their legal proceedings. In most cases, the statute of limitations starts from the date of the auto accident, but exceptions may be possible.
Auto accident attorneys in Utah know that the statute of limitations helps encourage timely legal action and prevents people from threatening other parties with a lawsuit indefinitely.
Further, it facilitates effective justice that might otherwise be hampered due to degrading or destroyed evidence and fading memory.
Filing a lawsuit after the statute expires will result in the dismissal of your case in the Utah court of law. In fact, the judge may not even hear your case. As experienced car accident lawyers in Utah, we always recommend prompt legal action for the most positive outcomes.
How Does the Statute of Limitations Work in Utah?
If you were involved in an auto accident, you’ll have to file a personal injury case. As per the Utah Code 78B-2-307, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case is four years from the date of the incident.
However, laws related to statutes of limitations in Utah can be complex. A Utah car accident attorney may be your strongest ally in helping you navigate the legal waters. They’ll also help you understand your various rights and the statutes applicable to your claim.
A Utah auto accident attorney will know that several factors can impact the statute’s start date, length, and specifications. These include the type and extent of the injury suffered, the parties involved, and the specific circumstances of the case, among others.
Of course, the statute has certain exceptions. Here are a few examples of these.
- If there was no personal injury but you did sustain property damage (your car was damaged but you were fine) in the auto accident, you can file a property damage claim. It has a statute of limitations of three years.
- If your family member perished in the auto accident, you can file a wrongful death claim, which has a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the death.
- If you’re filing against the government, the statute of limitations is one year for local agencies (city, town, county) and two years for state agencies.
(Please note, Utah’s “modified comparative fault” rule allows financial recovery only when the claimant was less responsible than the other party for causing the auto accident.)
As per the Utah Code 31A-22-308, car accident victims should possess personal injury protection (PIP) insurance as Utah is a no-fault car insurance state. Their condition should meet the legal injury definitions to file their claim. Accordingly, the auto accident should have resulted in at least one of the following:
- Loss of Limbs
- Fractured bones
- Medical expenses of $3,000 or more
What to Do Immediately After Sustaining Injuries in an Auto Accident?
Following your auto accident, your first action should be calling the police to establish a public record that can be considered evidence. Whether or not you’re at fault for the crash, make sure to call the police so they can visit the site and gather evidence. They can also take witness statements.
If the police question you about your injuries, before careful in answering them. Many a time, injuries take a while to manifest. If you report no injuries to the police, the insurance company will use your statement against you to deny you your payout.
Our advice is to tell the police that you’re not ready to talk about your injuries at the moment or their medical team can discuss this at a later time.
You’ll also want to take pictures and videos of the auto accident site and your injuries. Apart from that, pay attention to any pains and aches. Get medical help immediately. Remember, your PIP insurance will cover the first $3,000 towards your treatment.
Next, reach out to a proven car accident lawyer in Utah for sound legal advice. Depending on the complexity of your case, they can help you get the best medical care and suggest the next steps.
In a nutshell, gather as much evidence as possible, call the police, seek medical aid for your injuries, and contact an auto accident attorney in Utah for any legal assistance.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File Your Case
While the statute of limitations in Utah gives you four years to file your auto accident claim, it is in your best interest to act swiftly after your crash.
Delayed action will allow the at-fault driver and the insurance company to make matters difficult. They can argue that too much time has elapsed since the auto accident to accurately calculate the damages.
Moreover, it takes time to build a robust case. You don’t want to rush your Utah auto accident attorney to file the case before the deadline expires.
Even if you’re close to the expiration date, it’s always a good idea to check with a licensed car accident lawyer to know about any exceptions that apply to your case.
Contact an Experienced Utah Auto Accident Attorney Today
If you were injured in a car crash in Utah, it’s important that you speak with a local car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Even if you think you’ve waited too long to consult an auto accident lawyer, consider the fact that negotiating with an insurance company that’s not working in your best interest can make things harder down the lane.
Do get in touch with our seasoned Utah auto accident attorney for legal assistance. We’ll be happy to evaluate your case and see if any deadline exceptions apply to your case. Give us a call at (801) 521-4145 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.