Every state in the country has different laws for handling car accident insurance claims. Every state has different minimum insurance requirements and states generally operate under fault-based or no-fault systems. Utah is a no-fault state, meaning a driver who suffers injuries or property damage in a car accident will likely need to file a claim against his or her own auto insurance policy, with help of a Layton accident attorney, to recover fair compensation.
Despite the fact that Utah operates under a no-fault system, drivers who sustain severe injuries may have the opportunity to pursue legal action against the drivers who caused those injuries. Additionally, the injured driver’s contribution to an accident may also influence future insurance issues and options for legal recourse.
Utah Insurance Requirements
All Utah drivers must meet the state’s minimum auto insurance requirements. A Utah auto insurance policy must include:
- At least $3,000 in personal injury protection coverage.
- At least $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person in a single accident the policyholder causes.
- At least $65,000 in total liability coverage for a single accident the policyholder causes when one or more people involved in the accident suffered bodily harm.
- $15,000 or more in property damage liability coverage for any property damage the policyholder causes in an accident.
Most minor accidents generally end at the injured driver’s own insurance policy. If the driver’s injuries led to less than $3,000 in medical expenses, there is no need to pursue legal action against an at-fault driver. However, the plaintiff may still want to explore his or her options for repairing a damaged or destroyed vehicle. It’s important for Utah drivers to remember that the state’s no-fault restriction only applies to bodily injury claims. Drivers who sustain property damage can pursue property damage liability claims against at-fault drivers without restriction.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Utah Car Accident
If an injured driver wishes to pursue legal action against an at-fault driver for bodily injury, the injured driver must first exhaust his or her personal injury protection coverage, incur $3,000 or more in medical expenses, or the driver’s injuries must qualify as “severe” according to the state’s definition. Severe injuries generally include severe bone fractures, dismemberment, permanent disfigurement, or injuries resulting in any type of long-term or permanent disability.
When an injured driver’s bodily injury damages meet Utah’s requirements for filing a personal injury claim, the injured driver will need to prove that the at-fault driver negligently caused the accident in question. The plaintiff will then need to provide proof of the extent of his or her damages and show that the defendant’s negligence directly caused those damages.
Compensation for a Car Accident Claim in Utah
Utah follows a comparative negligence law with a 50% limit for plaintiff liability. This means a plaintiff can still recover damages in a personal injury claim even if he or she is partially responsible for the accident. However, the 50% limit means that the plaintiff’s fault cannot exceed the defendant’s. If the plaintiff is 50% or more at fault for a claimed accident, the plaintiff cannot recover any damages. If the plaintiff is less than 50% at fault, he or she simply loses a portion of the case award equal to his or her fault percentage.
Damages in most Utah car accident claims include medical expenses for the immediate and future costs of medical treatment for the plaintiff’s injuries. If the plaintiff sustains serious injuries that result in permanent injury, the plaintiff should understand the maximum possible recovery he or she should expect before agreeing to a settlement offer.
Accepting a settlement too soon may lead to less compensation than the plaintiff actually deserves, so any injured driver should consult an experienced Salt Lake City car accident lawyer before engaging in any type of settlement negotiations with an at-fault driver.