Utah Code § 41-12a-301 dictates that all drivers in Utah must be insured and carry proof of their insurance at all times. “It is a class B misdemeanor if insurance is not maintained on a vehicle or if evidence of insurance is not carried when operating a motor vehicle” (§ 41-12a-302, 303.2). Yet, approximately 10% of Utah drivers are uninsured at a given time, putting other drivers at an increased risk for accidents for which they may not be duly compensated. To make matters worse, uninsured motorists do not seem to be making an attempt to compensate for one oversight by avoiding others.
While the law can penalize infractions, it cannot certify that they will not take place. This is why there are legal minimums for the amount people can insure when they choose to obey that particular law. However, these solutions—true to Murphy’s Laws—are occasionally accompanied by complications of their own.
1. Recourse to PIP/no-fault insurance
In Utah, the minimum coverage requirement for personal injury protection/no-fault insurance is $3,000. In addition, auto insurance packages are required to provide at least $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident for costs incurred for medical care and $15,000 per accident for property damage. Therefore, the insured driver involved in an accident in a no-fault state such as Utah should theoretically have no problem getting reimbursed by their own insurance company. However, the way things should work out and the way things do work out are not always one and the same. In cases where one runs into conflict with their own insurance provider, an uninsured motorist attorney can provide helpful insights.
2. Drawing from uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance
While uninsured motorist insurance is not required in Utah, many people choose to purchase it as an extra safeguard in case the damages in an accident with an uninsured motorist should exceed the amount they have available in their regular coverage. While this type of insurance may certainly come in handy, its absence won’t necessarily mean that the victim of an accident with an uninsured motorist will have to come up short. If there is more to a given case than meets the eye, an uninsured motorist attorney will know and be able to properly advise those involved.
3. Negotiating a private settlement
On rare occasions, neither the required standard insurance nor uninsured motorist insurance is enough to guarantee that the costs of an accident will be covered…and this may be the case for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes claims are denied outright on the basis of incorrect filing or contradiction of their validity based on the events leading to the accident. The claimant may be led to believe that once their claim is denied, the final word has been spoken; however, this is rarely the case. More often, an uninsured motorist attorney can help their client(s) reach an acceptable settlement by acting as their representative, familiar with all the rights due to them. The important thing to remember is that no one need take an unjust “no” for an answer.
4. Going to court
The vast majority of accidents should be settled out of court. Still, there will be instances where mediation is unsuccessful, and actual litigation will be necessary. If this situation should arise, the best way to come out on top is to retain a personal injury attorney with experience in winning such cases.
Whatever your particular predicament, the right personal injury attorney can provide you with the information to obtain the compensation you need following an accident. For a free initial consultation with experienced lawyers who treat injury victims with integrity and compassion, call Draper-based Christensen & Hymas at (81) 506-0800. Or, alternately, order their free booklet, “7 Biggest Mistakes that can Wreck Your Utah Accident Case.”
Image courtesy of: Shuets Udono