A first-person view image of a person taking a photo of their car accident on their phone.

Driving: it’s something most of us do every day, so its dangers aren’t something we want to have to think about. Not everyone has that luxury. In 2021 alone, Utah saw 61,406 serious crashes, leading to 26,437 injuries and 332 fatalities, according to the Utah Highway Safety Office.

A single accident — even at low speeds — is enough to change your life in an instant. Suddenly, you are faced with medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and the possibility of severely reduced income because of missed work. Dealing with all of these costs on your own, even with your own insurer, can be a real challenge. That’s why many in the state turn to the experienced Utah car accident attorneys at Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers.

Our Utah personal injury law firm was created to help give our clients a fighting chance at recovering the money they’ve lost in a devastating accident. You can’t trust insurers to do the right thing and honor your claim with a fair value, but you can trust us to help you stand up to them. Let our experienced attorneys handle your case and employ the best legal strategies available to give you the highest chance of recovering all your losses. In the meantime, you can focus on getting better.

If you’re ready to learn more about how a car accident attorney in Utah can help you, give us a call at (801) 810-9999 or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential case review with no obligation.

How Can a Utah Car Accident Attorney Help Me?

Some states are tougher than others when it comes to receiving compensation for a personal injury, and Utah can be counted among them. It bars recovery if you are determined to have been more at fault than another contributing party, and it also forces you to rely on a “no-fault” self-insurance system unless you can concretely prove permanent and significant medical damages.

A Utah car accident lawyer from Valley Law is fully prepared to help you seek the most compensation possible after your collision, and that often involves navigating around the above two major hurdles. Insurers are quick to allege fault on the part of the claimant, and it can also be difficult to convince insurers (and even juries) that your serious injury warrants a liability claim against the negligent party. We help you firmly establish the full extent of medical harm you have suffered, working with doctors and other health care professionals to help you receive a full diagnosis, as well as an accurately projected long-term treatment plan. 

We also aggressively investigate all aspects of the accident, and that often involves going after one or more parties to get the evidence we need to concretely prove fault. When we represent your case, we’re willing to do whatever it takes to give it the highest chances of success. That involves extensive research work in the office, careful tactics at the negotiation table, and a willingness to take your case to trial in order to help you secure the highest settlement value possible.

How Do I Know If I Have a Car Accident Case?

Foremost, Utah is a no-fault state. That means you are supposed to be able to claim whatever medical costs related to injuries you suffer in an accident, regardless of how the accident occurred.

Despite its intention of making insurance claims more straightforward, securing coverage from your personal injury protection (PIP) policy is often anything but easy. Insurers are apt to force you to cover certain costs or procedures, and they may undervalue aspects of your claim, like lost wages.

PIP claims only pay up to your coverage limit, however, which in Utah is a minimum of just $3,000. You may have more coverage available than that, depending on how much you’ve purchased, but in cases where you have a severe injury, your next option should be to consider a liability claim against any negligent parties.

When Can I Sue Someone (or File a Liability Claim Against Them) After a Car Accident in Utah?

Unlike some other no-fault states, Utah still requires all vehicles registered in the state to be covered by a minimum amount of liability insurance. This insurance pays anyone who was hurt by the driver in an accident, provided they can both:

  • Prove that the policyholder was at fault
  • Prove that their medical condition meets the “injury threshold”

Meeting the Injury Threshold for Suing an At-Fault Driver in Utah

Someone meets the state’s injury threshold if they can establish that the car crash directly led to  one of the following:

  • A permanent disability
  • A permanent impairment
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Dismemberment (amputation)

Proving Fault (The Four Parts of Negligence)

Proving fault most often involves establishing negligence. Negligence involves four main showings:

  1. The defending party had a duty of care to obey road laws and otherwise exercise reasonable caution
  2. The defendant breached their duty, such as through a dangerous act or a failure to act in a way that would have prevented harm
  3. The breach in duty was the proximate cause — or most-direct cause — of an injury to the injured claimant (or plaintiff)
  4. The injured party suffered damages of a financial and personal nature as a result of the harm suffered because of the other party’s breach in duty

Filing an Injury Claim After an Accident in Utah

An injured party can file an injury claim against an at-fault driver’s liability policy once they can make the above two main provings, showing that the driver caused the accident and that their condition satisfies the injury threshold. However, they must first claim the maximum amount of PIP coverage available (a minimum of $3,000) before attempting to recover excess damages through a liability coverage claim.

Getting to this stage in the process is not easy, which is why liability insurers in Utah think they hold the power. In truth, the law is always on your side. 

Let us help you work to document fault, establish the seriousness of your condition, and then calculate the full extent of damages you have suffered at the hands of another careless driver. Our attorneys work tirelessly to build the strongest case possible, so you and your family can rest easily knowing that your financial future can be secured.

Types of Damages Available in a Utah Car Accident Injury Case

Every injury case in Utah is unique, which means that damages will differ depending on the extent of the accident victim’s injuries and other individual factors. 

Speaking generally, injury claimants expect to seek compensation for the following categories of damages:

  • Medical treatment costs, including the full initial costs of injury treatment, such as EMS services, hospitalization, testing/imaging, surgery, diagnosis, specialist consults, etc.
  • Projected future treatment costs, encompassing all likely estimated costs of future treatment, such as physical therapy, home accommodations needed, ongoing prescription or medical device costs, etc.
  • Lost wages, calculated as the difference between your earnings prior to the accident compared to after
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, including any transportation and parking costs for your medical appointments
  • Property damage coverage for vehicle repairs or any other loss of property you have experienced
  • Pain and suffering compensation for your loss of ability to enjoy certain activities as well as the pain and mental challenges you have endured

Fighting Against Utah’s Comparative Fault Reductions to Auto Accident Claims

One extremely important law to know about when filing an injury claim in Utah is our modified comparative negligence system (U.C. § 78B-5-818). 

“Comparative” negligence means that any fault you have contributed will be compared to the total sum of causes of your accident. Your final award (or settlement) will then be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault you contributed.

In other words, if you are partially at-fault for your own injuries, you can only partially recover the total costs of treatment and other damages. Someone who is determined to be at 20% fault for an accident leading to injuries that cost $40,000 to treat, for instance, will only receive up to 80% of the final cost of damages — meaning $32,000, in this case.

Because of this system, insurance companies and those defending against liability will put astronomical amounts of work into trying to pin some of the blame on you after an accident. Your attorney’s job, in turn, is to rigorously investigate the accident, research cases similar to yours, and otherwise put every effort into proving that the other party was liable, not you. This level of commitment reduces the chances that your final settlement will leave you paying out-of-pocket for injury costs — ones that weren’t really your fault.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims in Utah?

Utah offers a generous four years’ worth of time to claim damages related to a personal injury. However, this period is reduced to just one year when you are suing a State entity, such as the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).

Four years may sound like a long time, but it really isn’t! Many personal injury cases involve complex legal questions and the need for substantial evidence. Assembling all of the needed components takes time, and it could impact the strength of your case should it require a last-minute scramble.

Further, evidence disappears quickly from the moment an accident occurs. Witnesses may be unable to be contacted, and the road scene itself can fade from exposure to the elements. Camera footage is also often written over — sometimes as soon as a few hours after recording. You and your legal team will want to have as much evidence as possible in hand when filing your claim, and that means responding promptly to begin the claims process.

Never assume it is too late to file your claim, but also don’t assume you have all the time in the world. The best time to call a lawyer is always right after the accident occurs. The second-best time is right now.

What Does No-Fault (PIP) Insurance Cover in Utah?

PIP policies are attached to the vehicle in Utah rather than a single person named on the policy. What that means is that anyone who is operating the vehicle is covered by the policy. It can also apply to passengers riding in the car at the time of the accident (although their personal coverage may apply first) and any pedestrians injured by the covered vehicle.

Benefits from PIP policies include all of the following:

  • Payment for all reasonable medical treatments made necessary by the accident, up to the policy coverage limit
  • Replacement of lost income, up to $250 a week (or 85% of lost income, whichever is lesser)
  • Replacement of certain domestic services provided by the injured claimant, such as household chores
  • In the event of a death, coverage for funeral and burial costs
  • Death benefits, paid to named beneficiaries upon the death of a covered person

While some of these benefits may sound generous, you can see notable holes in the coverage available. Most obviously, lost wages are barely covered at all! Further, the state’s minimum requirement of $3,000 in PIP coverage is far from enough to cover most serious injuries, as a visit to the ER can easily cost twice this much.

Because of low levels of PIP coverage in Utah, injured parties may want to explore their options for filing a car accident claim against any negligent parties. 

Work With a Utah Car Accident Law Firm Who Wants to Help You Recover

Dealing with the aftermath of a major car accident can be stressful enough on its own. When you are struggling to cover medical bills and make ends meet on reduced income, that’s when you know you need professional assistance. That’s when we recommend you call Valley Law.

At Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers, we are prepared to do whatever we can to maximize your chances of recovering 100% of the damages you have suffered. Dealing with insurance companies is never easy, and you may even need to file a lawsuit to get the proper settlement (or jury award) you need in order to recover. We will be with you along every step of the journey, helping you gather the needed evidence, calculate all damages, and assemble the evidence needed to force insurers and others to take your claim seriously.

When you are ready to fight for your right to seek compensation, we are ready to listen to you. Reach out to schedule your free case evaluation today when you call (801) 810-9999 or contact us online.

Questions you might have in your mind

So you met with your insurance provider, but you aren’t satisfied with the amount your insurance company wants to hand over to you after a car accident. What do you…

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…

Additional Questions?

We have helped many clients recover from injuries resulting from car accidents in West Valley, Salt Lake City, and the greater Utah area. We are here to help you recover after an accident. If you've been injured, don't hesitate to call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have recovered millions for our clients and we are ready to fight for you.

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SLC, UT, 84129, United States.

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