Uninsured Motorist Laws
What is considered an uninsured vehicle?
Utah law considers five types of vehicles as uninsured. A vehicle:
- with no insurance at all;
- with less insurance on it than required by Utah law;
- that leaves the scene of the accident and cannot be identified;
- covered by insurance, but the insurance company denies for 60 days or more that it covers it;
- covered by insurance, but the insurance company dissolves before or after the accident.
What does Utah require for uninsured insurance coverage?
Utah law requires drivers to carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). The amount covered by this policy must match the normal liability coverage on the driver’s policy. However, the driver can choose to waive this coverage or have a smaller amount than the law requires. To do so, a driver must sign “an acknowledgement form that:
- is filed with the department;
- is provided by the insurer;
- waives the higher coverage;”
- explains the purpose of uninsured motorist coverage; and
- states how much added cost the uninsured coverage would cost.
How do I know if I am covered by an uninsured policy?
Utah law considers the following people covered by the uninsured policy:
- the person named on the policy,
- relatives who live with the insured person including a common law spouse, and
- any passengers in the insured car.
Your policy will also cover you if you are driving a new or replacement vehicle that the insurance company includes in its policy.
What time constraints does the law put on me?
- 60 days pass from the time you show the insurance company proof of all your losses,
- the insurance company waives the need to show proof of loss, or
- the insurance company rejects your claim for the full amount.
However, sometimes waiting until one of these things occurs will cause serious problems for you. In this case, you can show this to the court and it will speed up the process.
How will I be compensated for my injuries from an uninsured driver?
If you are hit by an uninsured vehicle you can seek compensation for “bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death” (Utah law). If you have an uninsured insurance policy, then it will cover injuries up to the limit purchased. If you do not have this policy, then you will have to try to use the other parts of your insurance policy, which may not be enough to cover all of your costs. If an uninsured vehicle hits you while you’re walking, then your uninsured policy will cover the injuries. Sometimes you may be hit while you are in a car not owned by you or a family member. In this case, Utah law allows for you to use the uninsured policy from the car you’re in, as well as your own car. However, usually Utah law does not allow you to use more than one insurance policy to cover your damages. After the accident with an uninsured driver, you can make a claim with your insurance company. It can then offer you an amount for how much it will compensate you for your damages up to the limit you purchased. If you feel the amount is unfair or will not cover all of your injuries, then you can use an attorney to help you resolve the disagreement. Utah law allows you to resolve it through arbitration or litigation. Each method has its own set of rules, including a written demand with very specific details. If your loved one died as a result of an uninsured driver, you can seek compensation for you and your family on the deceased person’s behalf.
What other laws should I be aware of?
Occasionally, an unknown vehicle causes an accident. You may be involved in that accident even though the unknown vehicle never touched your own vehicle. In this case, you must provide“clear and convincing evidence” beyond your own testimony that this vehicle caused your accident. You can also potentially receive compensation for property damage caused by an uninsured vehicle. However, specific rules apply as to when and how much you can receive. A driver without insurance cannot receive the benefits of the other driver’s no-fault coverage.
As you can see, laws surrounding uninsured vehicles are confusing and complex. This process may become very difficult and frustrating, especially without an experienced attorney to guide you through this process. Please call us at (801) 506-0800 to set up a free consultation so that we can help you with your uninsured accident claim. To read more, visit our article on uninsured motorist accidents.
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