Auto accidents can cause serious injuries. Understanding your no-fault insurance and liability coverage can remove some of the stress from navigating the personal injury claim process after an accident.
Below, you’ll learn how Utah’s no-fault laws affect your ability to receive coverage after an auto accident. Work with a car accident lawyer from Great West Injury Lawyers to help you protect your rights to get you the compensation you deserve by filing a personal injury claim with the negligent party’s insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit.
No-fault insurance, also called personal injury protection (PIP), is only offered in states with no-fault accident laws, like Utah. Your PIP covers bodily injury claims arising from a crash, regardless of who was at fault. It covers medical and funeral expenses but not property damage.
No-fault states require every driver to carry PIP coverage as part of their insurance policy. Utah requires at least $3,000 of PIP coverage for drivers.
Rules for car crash lawsuits in no-fault states, known as threshold conditions, spell out strict guidelines on who can file a suit. These guidelines relate to the severity of injuries sustained in the accident.
In addition to personal injury protection, Utah insurance laws require liability insurance. The minimum coverage amounts for liability insurance are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person
- $65,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people
- $15,000 for property damage liability
- $80,000 for an accident that covers bodily injury or death of other people and property damage
The no-fault system works well for minor injuries, but severe injuries often require more compensation than your PIP coverage.
Requirements for Suing an At-Fault Driver
You must meet specific criteria to bring a suit against an at-fault driver in Utah. These criteria are known as the serious bodily impairment threshold. Utah’s threshold for suing a negligent party requires:
- Your medical bills from injuries sustained in the accident have to exceed $3,000
- Or your injuries result in permanent disability, impairment, disfigurement, or dismemberment.
You can file a third-party accident claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit if your injuries qualify under either criterion. Using either method, you can pursue compensation for all types of losses, including lost wages and the non-economic losses not covered by personal injury protection.
Utah uses a modified comparative negligence rule that reduces the amount of an award you receive by your share of responsibility for the accident. It also says that if your share of liability is greater than that of the negligent party, you are not entitled to any award. So, for example, if you carry 49% of the responsibility for your injuries, you can receive damages; however, if you are 51% responsible, you aren’t entitled to any compensation.
You have four years to file a personal injury claim. You have a much better chance of winning with an experienced legal representative and filing your claim soon after your accident.
The Insurance Company Is Not on Your Side
Insurance companies make money by limiting what they pay. They routinely offer lowball settlements, hoping you will accept them before you get a personal injury attorney involved. They try to place at least some of the blame on you to reduce the payout.
Car accident lawyers have experience negotiating with insurance companies for fair compensation. Hiring an attorney before you speak to the third-party insurance company prevents you from saying anything that can be held against you later and reduces the settlement you receive. It also takes the pressure off you since your lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance company.
Your attorney will investigate the accident, interview witnesses, review your medical records, ask you how the accident has impacted your life, and use this information to calculate a fair settlement. The types of damages your claim asks for depends in part on your injuries but may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Modifications to your home
If the insurance company refuses to cooperate, your lawyer may take them to trial. Your experienced legal team will present evidence, question witnesses, and call experts to testify about your injuries and how they affect your life. These expert witnesses help convince juries that you deserve financial compensation.
Get a Free Case Review
Contact the skilled Utah car accident lawyers at Great West Injury Law for a complimentary consultation today. We have extensive experience handling car accident cases in Utah, and we will fight aggressively for your rights. We understand the unique challenges accident victims face and will help you navigate the stressful claims process, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.