Does Liability Insurance Cover My Car if Someone Hit Me?

An insurance adjuster questioning a claimant about damage to the front end of the car.Yes, liability insurance often can and does cover your car if someone hits you, but only if the accident wasn’t your fault. But before making a liability claim, there is a small caveat to keep in mind.

Unfortunately for anyone looking into liability claims for compensation, Utah is a no-fault state. As such, you probably can’t make a third-party liability claim without first pursuing whatever compensation your own insurer has to offer.

Still, that doesn’t mean liability claims are off the table. Third-party liability might be harder to aim for in Utah than in most other states, but there are rules set in place that might make it a viable option for you.

What if You Have Liability Insurance and You Hit Someone?

Having liability insurance means the insurer pays for damages up to the limits of your plan in the event of a car accident where you are at fault.

Now, because we mentioned that Utah is a no-fault state, drivers often do not have to pay liability insurance for bodily injury. However, if a victim’s injuries are deemed severe enough, or if their expenses are high enough, liability pays the victim in your stead.

So then, assuming you hit a pedestrian with your car, then they will turn to any personal insurance first. If the cost or injury to the victim passes a certain threshold, or if they are uninsured, your relevant policies pay for the remainder.

Insurance Requirements and Policies in Utah

Again, Utah is one of only a few states that follow what is called a “no-fault” system. What this means is in addition to automobile liability insurance required in all states, Utah also requires drivers to have their own protection policies in place in the event of an accident.

Insurance providers within the state also offer other policies for different kinds of protection. Available plans in Utah include collision, comprehensive, underinsured motorist (UIM), and uninsured motorist (UM) insurance.

Automobile Liability Insurance

Automobile liability insurance is a general term for policies that cover bodily injury and property damage a third party suffers in an accident with the driver. This coverage is indicated in your insurance policy as three numbers, separated by two slashes.

Each of these numbers represents your coverage for per-person bodily injury, per-accident bodily injury, and property damage in thousands of dollars. In Utah, the minimum values indicated here are 25, 65, and 15, respectively.

  • Bodily Injury Liability (BI): As the name suggests, BI liability serves as protection in the event you are held liable for injuries others sustained in a car accident. The amount of BI liability you can claim is capped for each person as well as for the entirety of the accident as a whole.
  • Property Damage Liability: This part of your automobile liability insurance pays for damage to other people’s property, including other vehicles, when you are legally liable for the accident. It is typically lower than BI protection.

Car accident victims can file a property damage liability claim against an at-fault driver as long as they have incurred damages from the accident. However, as earlier noted, bodily injury claims may only be filed if Personal Injury Protection (PIP) does not apply.

Note that where automobile liability insurance applies, Utah follows a comparative negligence rule. Under this, a person can only make a claim if the other driver is more than 50% at-fault, and after a settlement is made, the total payout is reduced by the claimant’s share of fault.

Personal Injury Protection

PIP is a second type of insurance policy required by Utah as a no-fault state. In fact, by definition, the requirement of PIP is what makes Utah a no-fault state.

This type of insurance provides medical benefits, including coverage for hospital bills, medication, therapy, and more, depending on the insurance provider.

The policy applies regardless of fault, which (ideally) streamlines the claims process compared to liability claims. It serves as a means to compensate victims quickly and allows them prompt access to necessary healthcare services.

PIP coverage must be expended before an accident victim can pursue any other claims like bodily injury liability. To this end, Utah requires drivers to have a minimum of $3,000 in PIP to account for any physical harm they and any passengers sustain in the accident.

However, Utah also specifies expense and injury thresholds that, when met, allow a person to step outside the no-fault system and opt for compensation by a third party. This assumes the third party is at fault.

  • Medical Expense Thresholds: If the policyholder’s total medical expenses exceed $3,000 – the minimum amount of PIP required by the state – they are allowed to seek additional compensation elsewhere.
  • Injury Severity Threshold: If the policyholder sustains permanent disability, disfigurement, dismemberment, or impairment, they are considered severe enough to pursue compensation from the at-fault party.

When one or both of these thresholds is met, the injured accident victim can turn to a BI liability claim against the at-fault party.

One important point regarding PIP: it covers the insured individual regardless of whether they were in a vehicle or not. An insured pedestrian will have to turn to their PIP policy for compensation the same way a driver or passenger would have to.

Collision Insurance

This is a type of insurance policy that pays for damage to your car in the event of a collision. It is primarily useful for covering your own damage when you are found at fault for an accident or for accidents where no one is found at fault (for example, from a bad pothole).

Collision insurance is an optional insurance policy in Utah. A way to simplify it is to think of it as PIP for your car instead of for your injuries, as fault rarely ever applies when making a collision insurance claim.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive insurance protects your car from any form of damage not involving a collision and includes weather damage, theft, and vandalism. Of note, comprehensive insurance policies tend to have clauses relating to the policyholder’s security measures to keep their car safe.

Comprehensive insurance, like collision insurance, is optional in Utah.

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Insurance

This is a policy that protects the insured party if the at-fault party’s insurance policy is insufficient to pay to cover all damages. Typically, UIM insurance pays for the difference after deducting the at-fault driver’s policy from the insured’s total damages.

UIM insurance is another policy that is not necessarily required in Utah. However, it is also useful in that it provides additional avenues of compensation, provided the policyholder can prove the other party was at-fault and cannot cover all the costs.

Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance

UM insurance covers injury and property damage in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver or in the case of hit-and-runs where the other driver cannot typically be contacted for their insurance information.

This is another optional form of automobile insurance policy in Utah. In contrast with PIP, and similar to some other policies listed here, the determination of fault can play a part in making a UM claim.

Making a Liability Claim in Utah

While navigating the finer details of a claim (investigation, negotiation, etc) can be complex, the process of actually making a claim is mostly straightforward.

  1. Get emergency treatment: Get any lifesaving procedures done with, followed by any other treatment your doctor recommends. Once you have the opportunity, you will also want to arrange for long-term or follow-up treatment.
  2. Contact your insurer for PIP and/or the other driver’s insurer for property damage: You are unlikely to receive a payout or even an offer right away, and really, your lawyer will advise you not to take it if the insurer offers at this point. However, you do have to inform them of your intent to use your PIP coverage so they can begin the investigation as well as assist you with the next steps in the process.
  3. Compile all expenses for PIP: You will want to save the receipts from all healthcare services you procured. Once you have the bills, you and your lawyer can arrange for a final settlement as soon as the insurer’s investigation is complete.
  4. Liability claim: The other party’s insurance company will have tried to determine through their investigation whether you or the other party was at fault for the accident. If the investigation finds that the other driver is more than 50% at fault, you can arrange for a final settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
    1. For property damage: Any fault you have will be deducted from the total payout for property damage.
    2. For bodily injury: If your PIP expenses and/or your injuries pass the required thresholds, you may include these expenses in the liability claim, and, as in the case of property damage, your fault will be deducted from the total payout.
  5. UM/UIM claim: If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, or if the accident was a hit-and-run, you can pursue UM or UIM claims in place of liability claims from your own insurance company.

Work With an Expert Lawyer From Valley Law for Your Liability Insurance Claim

No matter what type of insurance claim you need after a car accident, Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers is here to help you get the compensation you need. Our lawyers have spent years refining their skills to maximize payouts in insurance negotiations.

Valley Law’s lead attorney Brigham Richards puts more than a decade of personal injury law on the table to ensure your claim is fair. His belief in a personal approach to clients puts your interests first and eases your path to recompense after an accident.

Contact us today by filling out our online form found here, or call us at 801-810-9999 today for a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our lawyers. We work by contingency, so you do not have to spend a dime until we win your case for you.

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