Utah Car Accident Laws
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 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 reasonable and related medical 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. Do not delay. 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. The accident victim had more than $3,000 in medical bills, but had waited several weeks before seeing a doctor and, then, had significant gaps in time between medical treatments. 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 and 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:
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. If the jury finds you were more than 50% at fault for your injuries, you will recover nothing. 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. So if you are involved in an accident, be sure to document everything. Take photographs, get witness statements, locate eye witnesses, and request the accident documentation from the police department. 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.
Image “Ski Hill Rd. Crash” copyright by Jason Bain.
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