Originally posted April 11, 2022
Under typical circumstances, anyone who has sustained injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence has the right to file a lawsuit against the people responsible for the accident. This type of case is known as a personal injury claim.
Every state has different rules and limitations regarding car accidents and personal injury cases, and some states have more complex rules than others. Read on to learn about the regulations and statutes of limitations for automobile accidents in Utah and find out how much time you have to file a claim.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a type of law imposing a maximum time limit for people involved in a dispute to start legal proceedings. Typically, the statute of limitations begins from the date of the incident, although some limited exceptions may apply.
The purpose of a statute of limitations is to encourage prompt and timely processing of cases and prevent people from threatening other parties with a lawsuit indefinitely. Additionally, it helps prevent ineffective justice due to degraded or destroyed evidence and fading memories.
Although you may attempt to file a lawsuit after the statute expires, doing so is immediate grounds for dismissal by the judge in a Utah court of law. In some instances, they may even refuse to hear your case.
How Do Statutes of Limitations for Car Crashes Work in Utah?
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case in Utah is four years from the date of the accident (Utah Code 78B-2-307).
However, laws and rules surrounding statutes of limitations in Utah are among the most complex in the nation. Hiring the services of a Utah car accident lawyer may be necessary to navigate these laws and understand what rights you have.
Multiple factors may change the statute’s specifications, length, and start date, depending on the accident’s circumstances, the parties involved, and the types of injuries sustained. Here are some examples where the four-year statute of limitations doesn’t apply.
- A property damage claim (such as for vehicle repairs after a crash) with no personal injuries has a three-year statute of limitations.
- If the car crash resulted in someone’s death, the surviving family members have a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim.
- If filing against the government (such as if you are injured in a collision with a vehicle driven by an on-the-clock government employee), the statute of limitations is one year for local entities (town, city, county) and two years for state entities, regardless of all other factors. For suits against the government, victims must also first file a “notice of claim” stating their intent to file and do so within one year of the crash.
I’ve Filed My Claim Before the Deadline. What Else Should I know?
Once you’ve filed your claim before the deadline, there are still several factors that can affect the outcome of your case. One important element to consider when filing a claim is how negligence will be determined in your case, which in turn affects how compensation will be awarded. Determining negligence differs from state to state according to their individual and distinct state laws.
How Is Negligence Determined in Utah?
Each state has different ways of determining who is entitled to compensation and who is at fault in a car accident. There are three systems: contributory, comparative, and modified comparative. Utah is a modified comparative negligence state.
Modified comparative negligence states, such as Utah, use a hybrid system that functions like standard comparative negligence up to a certain percentage of fault. In Utah, the limit is 50% based on a precedent set in Jensen v. Intermountain. If you and another party are equally at fault (50-50), neither side is entitled to any compensation.
Are There Any Damage Caps for Car Crash Claims in Utah?
A damage cap is a maximum limit on the amount of money awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit. There is no cap on damages in any other type of personal injury case, including car accidents. What you receive depends on what your attorney can negotiate for you.
We Stand Up for the Rights of Crash Victims
At Great West Injury Law, our legal team has several decades of combined experience in motor vehicle accident cases. Whether you were injured while operating your car, truck, motorbike, bicycle, or as a pedestrian, we understand your pain and suffering, and we will fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation, so we can get your case started well before the statute of limitations runs out.