If you have been in an accident, you are probably asking the following questions: How will I pay for my bills? How long will my recovery take? How much will my insurance cover? A car accident can be a jarring experience. To make matters worse, insurance companies often try to pressure you into settling your claim quickly before you know the extent of your injuries. Don’t let the stress of your accident force you into settling for anything less than you deserve.
The Utah car accident lawyers at Christensen & Hymas are committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that you get the compensation you deserve. We have experienced attorneys who work on car accident claims in Utah on a daily basis. Let us personally manage every aspect of your case. We want to help you during this stressful time by handling the hassle of your accident claim so you can focus on healing.
What Is a Car Accident Lawyer?
A car accident lawyer is a licensed attorney who advocates on behalf of a person injured in a car accident. The goal is for the car accident victim to receive financial compensation and justice for what occurred. A car accident lawyer may appear in formal legal proceedings and advocate for the victim in direct negotiations with the insurance company. The lawyer applies their legal training and experience to advance the claim with the goal of achieving a positive outcome for their client.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
A car accident lawyer can help you with the legal process as well as with the frustration and confusion that comes with pursuing a car accident claim. They can help you build a strong legal case and ensure that you make progress as quickly as possible. Ultimately, they work to ensure that you’re taking the right steps to bring your claim the right way and maximize your compensation.
During this stressful time, you have the right to understand your insurance coverage and the insurance company’s responsibilities to you. That is why we have made it our mission to level the playing field between accident victims and insurance companies by providing this information to the community for free. Download a copy of our book 7 Biggest Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Utah Accident Case to learn everything you should know before, during and after an accident.
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Car Accidents Deaths in Utah
In 2020, Utah saw 276 motor vehicle collision fatalities—the most the state has seen in the past seven years (Utah Department of Public Safety). Total crashes totaled 52,691. Of those crashes, 23,061 victims suffered injuries.
According to the Utah Highway Patrol, most deaths result from human error. Speeding and distracted driving are two of the top causes of car accident deaths. Wild animals also contribute to a number of crashes. Many accidents result from failing to listen to warnings from authorities regarding weather and other dangerous conditions. Drunk driving and failing to wear seatbelts are also contributors.
- Fatal crashes are most likely to occur around 5:00 p.m. However, they occur at all times of the day.
- Drivers ages 21-24 account for the largest number of car accident deaths in Utah, followed by drivers ages 13-20.
- Drug and alcohol use are the top underlying causes for fatal traffic crashes in Utah; speed is also a significant factor in a number of crashes.
- Many fatalities could be avoided by wearing a seatbelt.
- Accidents are more common in the summer months than in the winter.
What To Do If You Are In a Car Accident
Car accidents happen every day, whether we like it or not. It may happen to us or someone we know; however, they are going to happen. The question ultimately becomes, what is my responsibility when a car accident occurs?
After an accident, you as the driver or passenger may be rattled, frantic, or even badly injured. However, you must keep your wits about you. Your actions directly following the incident can play directly into the legal, mental, and physical characteristics of remediation, which are sure to follow. The minutes you spend talking to the others involved, writing up a police report, and scanning the accident landscape is crucial to your long-term success. Here are a few guidelines:
- Stay calm: Accidents happen! Yes, it is scary and upsetting. However, the calmer you are, the more details you can pick up, and the easier it is to move forward. Remember to stay calm and be vigilant about your surroundings. Take time to think through your next steps and what you need to do in the following moments.
- Don’t apologize: Never apologize in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Apologizing is often mistaken for admitting fault. Even if you think you may be at fault, you’re not in a position to know what legal fault is immediately after the accident. Apologizing is the gateway to misunderstanding and inconsistency. It is better to gather information than spend the majority of the time finding synonyms for sorry. Ask others involved if they are okay, but don’t say that you’re sorry or apologize.
- Contact the police: Calling the police documents that the accident occurred. It sends an officer to the scene who may later be a valuable witness. In fact, calling the police is required in most cases. Failure to call the police for whatever reason can seriously hurt your long-term response to the accident.
- Find witnesses: Financial recovery for a car accident often depends on fault and what happened to cause the accident. Witnesses can be vital to proving your case, especially if the other side contests legal fault. Witnesses provide the extra detail and description you need to protect yourself. They provide consistency to back up your story.
- Take photos of the accident: Photos may capture things that you don’t notice, or things that you don’t know are important. They say pictures give a thousand words, and this even goes for accidents. Snap pictures and provide yourself with the necessities you will need to know in the future. Later, your legal team can help you sort through and determine what’s important. These photos may serve as valuable evidence to determine fault and the extent of the damages.
- Gather information: The more information you have, the better. There is no such thing as information overload in a car accident. What you gather can either make or break your experience. Keep information about your medical treatment and costs. Gather police reports and witness information. Don’t throw anything away until you’ve talked to your attorney.
- Take time to remember the details: Cases can be won and lost on the details. Time can quickly dull memories and specific details. The best way to remember the little things is to write them down. Even if you’re not sure how it may be important later, take note of everything that comes to mind.
- Examine injuries: If injuries occur, it is important to seek the correct avenues for healing and moving on. Whether this involves the insurance companies or others, certain details can help in providing the best experience. Injuries in a car accident are often subtle. You may have serious injuries and not even know it. Be sure to err on the side of caution and get checked out to document any injuries and rule out further harm.
The more proactive you are in all the areas above, the easier it will be when the dust has settled and you need to file an insurance claim. The payoffs of preparing and gathering information in advance are well worth the time it takes to familiarize yourself with the protocol. The steps that you take now can ultimately result in a favorable result for your car accident claim.
Most Common Auto Accident Injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 3 million people are injured in traffic accidents per year in the United States. This includes serious as well as minor injuries. Here are the most common types of injuries seen in car accidents:
1. Head and Brain Trauma
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of head trauma. Even seemingly minor head accidents can prove fatal. These injuries are often the result of the head colliding with the dashboard or steering wheel or being thrown from the vehicle, which is common in motorcycle accidents.
A person may appear perfectly normal after an accident, only to deteriorate rapidly soon after because of traumatic brain injury or internal organ damage. It may take hours or days for the effects of a traumatic brain injury to set in. This is why it is very important to seek medical attention if you have been in a serious accident.
2. Neck and Connective Tissue Injury
Neck and connective tissue injuries may occur with or without broken bones. Whiplash is a very common injury, often resulting from auto accidents. While the seat belt does wonders to hold people in place, it cannot protect the neck.
When a vehicle collides with something, especially at high speeds, your head and neck may continue to travel at the same rate. The flying and jerking forward may cause whiplash. Whiplash can cause your arms and shoulders to hurt because of the many nerves in the neck that connect throughout the body. Like brain trauma, the pain is usually not evident until later, usually the next day. Whiplash can be incredibly painful as it involves the bruising of the neck muscles. About 50% of whiplash victims fully recover, 40% suffer chronic pain afterward, and 10% become permanently disabled.
3. Back and Pelvis Injury
A common type of back injury from auto accidents is a herniated disc. Discs cushion the spine, and the impact of an accident can cause a disc to break, leaving your spine exposed. Broken discs can sit on nerves and cause your limbs to become tingly or numb.
Compression fractures are another form of back injury that can be very serious. Compression fractures are small breaks in the spine that can lead the vertebrae to collapse. This is common among older adults. The pain associated with compression factors includes difficulty breathing. Compression fractures need immediate medical attention. However, many people incorrectly dismiss the symptoms as normal aging.
4. Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are on the top of the list for seriousness, right along with brain trauma. When the spinal cord becomes permanently damaged, the person becomes paralyzed. Injuries may be permanent. This can mean paralysis from the waist down or the chest down, depending on where the cord is damaged. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that communicates directly to the brain. When these nerves become damaged–often through motor vehicle accidents–the brain can no longer tell the limbs how to function. The victim may not be able to control organs or perform voluntary muscle movement.
5. Internal Organ Damage
Internal organ damage may not be immediately obvious after the accident, but it can be extremely serious. A victim may have internal organ damage without experiencing pain. Broken ribs can puncture the lungs. Spleens can tear as a result of auto accidents. People usually seek medical attention after they experience the side effects of collapsed lungs, ruptured spleens, or kidney and liver damage. At this point, it can often be too late to completely fix the problem. This is why it is important to be fully examined after a serious auto accident.
6. Limb Injuries
Limb injuries can include damage to the knees, feet, toes, arms, or legs. The legs and feet are especially vulnerable in car accidents due to their location in the vehicle. Broken bones may require surgery and take months to heal. When a vehicle is damaged in the front, it is common to have legs and feet trapped and crushed in the damage.
7. Chest Injuries
Chest injuries often occur as a result of shattered ribs that puncture the heart or lungs. These injuries can result from the seat belt and the amount of impact caused by the collision. Chest injuries can obstruct the airway, which can be a life-threatening injury. In fact, most chest injuries are life-threatening, and immediate medical attention is needed.
These auto accident injuries often occur because of someone else’s negligence, whether through drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, or another cause. If you have been injured in an auto accident, medical bills can pile up. Christensen & Hymas specializes in personal injury cases and can help you receive compensation for your injuries. Please call us at 801-506-0800 for a free consultation.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
It can be hard to know what to do after a car accident. Car accidents can be incredibly scary to all parties involved. Whether they be simple fender benders or more severe accidents, no one wants to be involved in an accident. It is good to know how to get back on track after a car accident. There are some steps you should take no matter the severity of the accident.
1. Take Care of Yourself (Medical Care)
When you are in a car accident, it may seem like your whole world is turned upside down. Directly after the accident, you may be confused or stunned, which can make it hard to know what to do next. You may also feel anger or guilt. It’s time to take care of yourself. It’s okay to prioritize and address your needs. Effective personal care not only helps you but also puts you in a position to help others.
When You Should Visit a Doctor
Anyone who has been in any kind of accident should visit a doctor. This option might be considered safer than sorry, but it’s important to rule out serious injuries. Plus, you need to document what injuries you have. Speeds can cause serious damage both internally and externally. Failing to have your injuries treated can make them more severe and prevent you from getting the compensation that you deserve. If you are the least bit concerned, go see the doctor! The best advice is common sense.
2. Take Care of Your Car
After you have taken care of yourself, it is important to take care of your car. Getting it to the appropriate mechanic is important. The quicker you can evaluate the damage to your car, the quicker you can bring your legal claim and arrange to get back on the road. Get a damage estimate and determine the best course of action. Be sure to carefully examine your insurance policy for deductibles. If your car is totaled, your insurance company may pay you the current value of the car rather than the replacement value or original cost of purchase.
If Your Car Is Totaled
Totaled cars happen more often than you think. A car is totaled if the cost to fix the car amounts to more than 51% of the value of the car. A mechanic or auto-adjuster makes the estimate of the damages. Unfortunately, the simplest accident can total a car if it hits a certain area–such as the engine. After a car is totaled, you may have different options to get back on the road depending on whether you own or lease the car and the type of car insurance coverage you have.
3. Take Care of Your Finances and Claims
An accident can put a huge strain on your finances. If you are injured, you might also be temporarily out of work, and paying your bills could be difficult. That can make it hard to be patient during your legal claim. Claims can also be stressful due to the back and forth arguments that can commence between insurance companies. Knowing how to pursue your claim can ultimately help your finances and get you back on track.
What to Expect Financially After an Accident
After an accident, your insurance company should go to work for you with the other individual’s insurance company. If you disagree with the decision reached by your insurance company, you may pursue appeals and ultimately file a legal claim. It’s important to keep accurate records of your financial losses because of the accident. These losses form the basis of your claim. You may pursue legal recourse in order to receive the compensation that you are due under the law.
4. File A Car Accident Claim
You need to be proactive in filing an insurance claim through your insurance company after a car accident. Most insurance companies provide online reporting and toll-free numbers that you may use right after your accident. When you file your claim, you need some information to provide to the insurance company, including the:
- Policy Number
- Date of Accident
- Location and description of the accident
- Personal address and license plate number
- Police department information and report number
- The other individual’s auto insurance
You shouldn’t have to provide any money upfront—after all, you have been paying for insurance for the majority of the time. Make sure they do their job to serve you. When talking to your insurance company, never admit fault. Remember, you may seek a personal injury attorney to help you through this process.
5. Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact us at Christensen & Hymas for a free, confidential consultation. Our competent car accident lawyers seek to provide you with the best options during your trying time. Call us at 801-506-0800.
What Not To Do After a Car Accident
What you do after a car accident is important. It’s equally important to know what not to do after a car accident. Mistakes that you can make after a crash can derail your opportunity to get a fair recovery and speed up the process of getting you back on your feet. Here are things to avoid after a car accident.
Don’t Leave the Scene of a Car Accident
Utah law requires drivers who are in an accident to stay at the scene and report the accident. If you leave the scene of a car accident, you may be charged with a criminal offense. In addition, it creates the impression that you believe you are at fault for the accident. It can also increase your legal liability. Stay at the scene until you have complied with the requirements to report the accident and exchange information with the other driver.
Don’t Admit Fault
After an accident, it can be easy to want to say — I’m sorry! But this simple phrase can derail your legal claim. What is just an expression of sympathy may be interpreted as an expression of fault. Right after an accident occurs, you don’t have complete information to know if you are at fault or not. Plus, you may not have a complete understanding of what legal fault is or how it’s determined. The best bet is to simply gather the facts and arrange for medical attention for anyone injured.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Reporting the accident is just the beginning. Don’t forget to follow up to prove and document your case. You need to speak with witnesses, gather your medical records, detail your lost work, and document the amount of property damage. An attorney for car accidents can help you determine the specific follow-ups that are necessary for the unique circumstances of your case.
Utah Car Accident Laws
Utah car accident laws give victims the right to claim financial compensation for their losses. There are two important car accident laws in Utah that can ruin your accident case completely — wiping it out and barring your recovery! Beware of these two laws: 1) Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Threshold Law, and 2) the Law of Comparative Fault. The insurance companies repeatedly use these laws to their advantage, but a little knowledge and proactive behavior can protect your case.
The Utah Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Threshold Law
Every Utah automobile insurance policy includes personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. It is mandatory. PIP coverage provides a minimum of $3,000 for reasonable medical expenses. This medical coverage is immediately available through your personal automobile insurance company—no matter who is responsible for causing the car accident.
But beware! Utah law requires that you exhaust the $3,000 in PIP benefits, or you are barred from ever making a claim against the at-fault driver for lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other damages caused in the accident. Because of this law, it is crucial that accident victims receive the medical attention and care that they need after an accident. Do not wait. Insurance adjusters can—and will—deny settlement claims and argue that the accident victim did not meet the $3,000 PIP threshold with accident-related medical treatment.
There are a few exceptions to the rule. For example, claims against your own insurance company—as well as claims involving death, permanent disability, or disfigurement—are not required to exhaust PIP benefits. But, the bottom line is that when you are in an accident, you must seek immediate medical care. Also, you must follow your doctor’s orders, or the insurance company may use this Utah accident law to deny your claim for damages.
The Law of Comparative Fault
What happens if both parties are to blame for the accident? In Utah, the law of comparative fault controls how much money, if any, you can recover from someone who causes your injury. If the jury finds that you were partially at fault in the accident, they will reduce the amount of money you recover by the percentage you were at fault.
For example, if your damages total $100,000, but a jury determines that you were 20% at fault, your $100,000 would be reduced by 20%, or $20,000, leaving you with $80,000. If the jury finds that you were 50% or more at fault in your accident, you will recover nothing. It may not seem fair, but it is the law in Utah.
Don’t let an insurance adjuster apportion fault to you for an accident that you did not cause. At our law firm, we understand how hard it can be for you to gather information and deal with insurance adjusters while trying to recover from your injuries. A good Utah car accident lawyer can help. We handle everything for our clients, so they can focus on healing.
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Utah Car Accident Statute of Limitations
Our Utah car accident law firm practices exclusively in personal injury law. We regularly help injury victims win large settlements. Our team makes sure that your case fulfills all of the requirements of Utah law. One of the most important of these requirements is the Utah car accident lawsuit statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time you have to file your claim after your accident occurs. Understanding the statute of limitations is critical to getting the compensation that you deserve.
How Long Do I Have to File My Car Accident Lawsuit in Utah?
If you are injured in a Utah car accident, you typically have four years to file your car accident lawsuit. This means that you have four years from the date of your accident to file your personal injury lawsuit. In a Utah car accident lawsuit, you can receive compensation for several different types of damages, including medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, if you do not meet the statute of limitations, the defense can ask the court to dismiss the case.
Is the Statute of Limitations Ever Less than Four Years For a Car Accident in Utah?
Yes, the statute of limitations may be less than four years. In some cases, the statute of limitations can be as early as one year from the date of the accident. If your case involves a government employee or government vehicle, then you must file a Notice of Claim within one year of the accident, or your case could be wiped out. After filing a notice of claim, you must file a lawsuit within one year.
Also, if the defendant dies, the statute of limitations can be much shorter than 4 years. The death does not need to be related to the accident. You should contact an attorney immediately if you are aware of the defendant’s death.
What is the Statute of LImitations if I am Filing an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage protects you if you are injured by a driver with no car insurance. This is a claim against your own car insurance company. You need to file a lawsuit seeking compensation from your own insurance company to cover your losses. You have a three-year statute of limitations from the date of the accident to file this type of claim.
An Underinsured Motorist claim arises when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover all your damages. If the driver’s insurance company pays their full policy limits, you can make an additional claim as part of your car insurance policy. You must file an underinsured motorist lawsuit three years from the date when the at-fault party’s insurance company pays their limit.
What Happens if I Do Not File My Car Accident Lawsuit in Time?
Unfortunately, if you do not file your claim within the statute of limitations, your case is likely already lost. If you do not file your Utah car accident lawsuit within four years of your accident, you probably will not be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Be sure to work with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your lawsuit is filed on time.
How Can I Avoid Missing the Deadline for a Car Accident Claim?
The best thing that you can do to avoid missing the deadline for a car accident claim is to contact an experienced Utah car accident lawyer. The attorneys at Christensen & Hymas have years of experience handling car accident cases. We are familiar with the details of the accident lawsuit statute of limitations and other important deadlines. If you contact us soon after your accident, we will make sure that your case is as strong as possible and meets every necessary deadline.
Do not let insurance companies mislead you about these deadlines. You may think they want to help you, but insurance companies will do everything to avoid paying you. We regularly help clients get what they deserve from the biggest insurance companies.
Is the Car Accident Lawsuit Statute of Limitations Ever More Than Four Years?
The car accident lawsuit statute of limitations may be more than four years in some circumstances. The deadline may change if the car accident victim is underage or mentally disabled.
- Child Injury Victims. If a child suffers an injury in a car accident, the statute of limitations on their case is four years from the date they turn 18. In other words, they must file their lawsuit before they reach the age of 22.
- Mentally Disabled Injury Victims. In the case of a mentally disabled car accident victim with a physical injury, the lawsuit can only be filed once the person has been appointed a legal guardian. The car accident lawsuit must be filed within four years after the date of this appointment.
How Can The Lawyers at Christensen & Hymas Make a Difference In Your Case?
The lawyers at Christensen & Hymas can make a difference by helping you get what you deserve from the insurance companies and from those responsible for the accident. The insurance companies have developed strategies over the years to avoid paying injury victims what they need. But at Christensen & Hymas, we know how to overcome these strategies and win your case. It is very difficult to win a case on your own, especially when you are focusing on recovering from your injury.
A successful personal injury settlement can cover many different types of losses. These include the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Ongoing medical treatments and medications
- Pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life
- Property damage
We will handle everything for you. You will never get another phone call from an insurance company after you hire our law firm. We will work to gather the right evidence and communicate with witnesses and insurance companies. This way, you can focus on your physical, mental, and emotional recovery while knowing that your legal claim is in good hands.
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Car Safety To Prevent Auto Accident
Many vehicle accidents are caused by operator error. Car safety is important to prevent accidents. By changing the behaviors that lead to car accidents, drivers can be proactive and do their part to reduce injuries on the roads. Here are five tips to prevent car accidents:
1. Pay attention.
Driving a car is not a passive activity! You have to watch the road and the circumstances around you. Allowing yourself to be diverted by a phone, food, and even children runs counter to every rule of driving: you cannot circumvent a risk if you don’t see it coming. Unfortunately, many people overestimate their ability to drive blind. Failing to pay attention causes thousands of injuries each year.
2. Don’t drive in a state of distraction.
Even without electronics, it can still be all too easy to drive in a state of mental distraction — with anxiety, exhaustion, anger, etc. Be sure that you’re in the right state of mind before driving a vehicle. It’s okay to take time for yourself to center yourself before you get behind the wheel.
3. Don’t be too trusting of other drivers.
Being wary of other drivers is also called driving defensively. It’s better to be safe than to be right – don’t assume that others on the road are going to do it correctly – even if you have the right of way. It’s up to you — not posted rules — to guarantee your safety on the road by watching out for rogue drivers.
4. Take stock of your environment.
There are circumstances in your environment that can impact your safety on the roads. Inclement driving conditions such as fog, freezing rain, blinding sunlight, and dust may add to the challenges of a journey. Road construction is another headache waiting in the wings. Debris may be another problem.
Delays are an inevitable part of life. Leave yourself time to adapt to changing circumstances. Take an inventory of the circumstances around you on the road. Choose safety above all.
5. Take care of your car.
A healthy car is a safer car. Your car must be able to stop suddenly, turn on a 90-degree angle and accelerate on-demand if an emergency situation calls for it. Plus, you put yourself in danger if you don’t replace worn tires, watch your vehicle’s suspension, and replenish steering fluid before they impact the reliability of your vehicle. The more steady, manageable, and predictable your car is, the more your prudent driving practices will pay off.
Utah Car Accident Resources
No personal injury attorney can honestly claim to care about their clients if they don’t extend that concern to the community at large. That’s why we have tips for avoiding car accidents and filing an insurance claim. Having access to the right resources can assist you in seeking justice and rebuilding your life after a car accident.
How to Get Your Police Report
To get a police report, begin by going to the website of the police department that investigated the accident. Follow the steps to Request a Car Accident Police Report. You may make the request online, over the phone, or in person. You’ll need to know information about the accident, like the date, parties, and location, to help the police identify the report you’re looking for. If you still need to make a report, you may be able to file a police report online for the Salt Lake City Police or another law enforcement department.
Hit and Run Reward Program
The Hit-and-Run Reward program has been established by personal injury attorneys like Christensen & Hymas to provide the public with an easy way to communicate tips on hit-and-run accidents. The program is tied to the “We Tip” crime hotline. The We-Tip hotline is a neutral third-party organization that passes information to law enforcement agencies. All reports are anonymous unless the reporter wants to be eligible for a reward. Christensen & Hymas offers up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and felony conviction of a hit-and-run driver. If you have witnessed a hit-and-run accident, call 1-800-644-8678 to provide your anonymous tip and you could collect a reward.
How To File an Insurance Claim
To file an insurance claim, go to your insurer’s website or app and navigate to the area to file a claim. With most companies, you can make the report online. Making a web report allows you to take your time and think through the information you’re disclosing rather than speaking live to a claims representative. It’s important to have all of the information to relay it to the insurance company clearly. However, you don’t want to make errors in the reporting process that could be used against you and unravel your claim. Your report should be clear, complete, and concise.
Child Car Safety Coloring Books
Kids can learn about a number of car safety topics with the coloring book “Josh Gets a New Car Seat.” Use the fun and interactive child car safety coloring book to explore topics like car seat safety, seat belts, crossing the road, parking lot safety, and helping parents focus on the road. An appendix provides statistics and information for parents about car seat safety and properly securing a child in a vehicle.
Preventative Maintenance Guide
Keeping up with your vehicle’s maintenance needs will help you and others stay safe on the road. Check out our comprehensive Preventative Maintenance Guide for 2021 for tips on how to keep your car running efficiently and prevent dangerous conditions.
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Utah Car Accident FAQs
Car accidents can be frustrating and devastating. You’re likely to have questions about medical treatment, car repairs, damages, paperwork, and more. Here are answers to some of your frequently asked questions about Utah car accidents from our personal injury attorneys:
What is the first thing I should do after a car accident?
Call 911. Always call 911 after a car accident. If someone requires emergency medical care, paramedics should be summoned without delay. Any concerns of lesser importance may be taken care of once help is on the way. After the police and paramedics are en route to the scene and you have provided first aid, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers and witnesses involved, take pictures of the accident and surrounding area, make a note of the time and record any details that seem relevant.
Can I just settle a car accident on-site?
Settling a car accident immediately on-site is problematic for a number of reasons: You aren’t likely to have things wholly in perspective right after an accident. You almost certainly don’t know what the damage will actually cost. Plus, accident survivors might be under pressure to accept less compensation than they are entitled to. Settlements should be made objectively and dispassionately. That cannot happen on-site in the aftermath of a car accident.
How should I interact with insurance providers after a car accident?
You should interact cautiously with insurance providers after a car accident. Particularly when dealing with someone else’s insurance company, you should be careful what kind of information you divulge and how. Insurance companies may make it sound as though sharing certain records is standard procedure or mandatory. But aside from the accident report you fill out for the police and the process of making a claim, few things must be shared upon demand. A car accident attorney can handle interactions with insurance providers for you.
Will I need to see a doctor after a car accident?
Yes! You always need to see a doctor after a car accident! You may not have suffered a visible scratch, and you may feel fine, but not all damages are apparent. In fact, many are effectively masked by adrenaline in accident scenarios. If something is wrong with you, you may be the least qualified to detect it or to appreciate its gravity. A medical professional knows best when you should seek treatment after an accident.
What role will my medical records play in a car accident?
Besides constituting an important part of your evidence, medical records play a role in a car accident to project the cost of treatment, length of recovery, and financial loss. Knowing the probable price of treatment can help to determine how you want to seek financial relief and ultimately what you want to receive in compensation. Medical records prove your case and ultimately set the stage to determine the probable value of the claim.
What damages can I recover for a car accident in Utah?
Utah law in 31A-22-307 entitles an accident victim to up to $3,000 in PIP coverage. The victim may also recover damages up to the limits of their no-fault and uninsured/underinsured motorist policy through their own insurer. If the case meets the threshold for serious or permanent injury or disability, the victim may go outside the no-fault system and pursue a personal injury claim to recover a variety of damages, including economic losses and non-economic injury, including pain and suffering.
What if I was partially to blame for a Utah car accident?
Because Utah is a no-fault state, even a person who contributes to their own injuries in an accident may seek compensation under their insurance coverage. Where there is an injury, there is an opportunity for a claim. Comparative fault may not be cited as grounds for an insurer to deny a claim. However, the compensation that a victim receives in a lawsuit against the other driver may be reduced by their percentage of fault through Utah’s comparative negligence laws. The victim may be denied compensation completely in a legal claim if they are 50% or more to blame for a car accident in Utah.
How long do I have to file a claim for a car accident in Utah?
The statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim in Utah is four years from the accident. However, there are some exceptions for the delayed discovery of harm, child victims, and mentally disabled individuals. In addition, the statute of limitations may be much shorter for filing a claim in cases of wrongful death or when the defendant is a government entity.
Who can be held liable for damages after a Utah car accident?
Any party whose conduct causes or worsens an accident can be held liable for damages after a Utah car accident. This can mean that another driver is at fault. It can mean that a construction company is at fault for failing to post warnings, and it can mean that an auto manufacturer was negligent in constructing working airbags, for example. It’s important to conduct an investigation to determine who can be held liable for damages based on the unique circumstances of the accident.
Can a passenger hold the driver responsible for my car accident injuries?
If the driver’s negligent behavior causes their passengers injury, then yes, the passengers may hold them responsible for car accident injuries. A driver has a duty to the passengers of their own vehicle just like they have a duty to other drivers on the road. If they are negligent in a way that causes injuries, the driver may be responsible to others in their own vehicle.
If the other driver was uninsured or underinsured, am I out of luck for car accident compensation?
No. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, you’re not necessarily out of luck for car accident compensation. This is what uninsured and underinsured coverage is for. Plus, there may be other parties, like a vehicle manufacturer, that are responsible for damages. Furthermore, if that coverage fails to cover the cost of an accident, you have the option of suing the at-fault party without going through their inadequate insurance.
What can I do if I remember important details of a car accident later?
Generally, you want to be as consistent as possible from the very beginning. On the other hand, people make mistakes – especially after auto accidents when heads may not be clear because of injury and stress. If you realize later on that your first statement about the accident wasn’t quite on the mark, you should change it. An attorney can help you make this kind of amendment effectively to ensure that you don’t jeopardize your rights.
How do I know I need to contact a personal injury attorney for a car accident in Utah?
You need to contact a personal injury attorney for car accidents in Utah if you have moderate or serious injuries, if there are questions of fault or if you don’t believe that you are fairly receiving the compensation that you deserve. An attorney can help you understand your rights and respond appropriately, whether that means evaluating the action of the insurance company or taking legal action on your behalf. They can help you understand if it’s appropriate to go it alone in your circumstances or if you may benefit from the services of a personal injury attorney for car accidents.
How long will I have to wait for compensation after a car accident?
According to Utah law 31A-26-301.6(3)-(4), insurers must begin payments for medical compensation within 30 days of settlement and within 45 days for income replacement benefits. Depending on the complexity of the accident, it may take anywhere from several weeks to a year or more to resolve the case. It’s important not to rush the claim at the expense of losing the compensation that you may deserve. An attorney can help you both move your claim for compensation quickly while balancing the need to take steps to maximize your compensation.
How will I get around when my car is impounded after an accident?
If your car is beyond use after an accident, it may be up to your insurance company to provide you with temporary transportation. The other party’s insurance company may also be on the hook. It depends on the insurance policy and the coverage provided. Claiming a vehicle may be difficult when a case is hotly disputed, but your own insurance may cover some of the cost.
What are my rights as a bicyclist involved in a car accident?
As a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities in a car accident as a motorist. However, you cannot simply insure your bicycle in the same way a motorist would insure their vehicle. If you are in a bicycle accident, you should look for compensation under your auto insurance policy or the driver’s liability coverage. You may have the right to bring a legal claim for financial compensation.
Free Consultation With Utah Car Accident Attorneys
Have you been hurt in a car accident? You may deserve financial compensation. Don’t wait for the insurance companies to do the right thing. The Christensen & Hymas attorneys want to work on your behalf to get you the financial compensation that you deserve. Contact us today for your free consultation with our car accident attorneys.