The Statute of Limitations in Utah
The deadline in Utah to submit a personal injury claim is four years, meaning you can hire an attorney or pursue compensation at any time within that time frame. If you are seeking compensation from a government entity such as an accident with a government vehicle, you have only one year to file a claim.
You Can Pursue Compensation for Injuries Stemming from any of the following:
- Auto Accidents Including Car, Motorcycle, Bus or Truck Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
Steps to Take After an Accident
Once you know how long you have to file your claim, start by gathering information about your case. Take photos of the scene, question bystanders and witnesses, get the name and car insurance information of the other driver. Call the police from the scene of the accident if necessary and get a copy of the police report. A police officer may provide you with a copy of the report or you may need to go to the police station to obtain your own copy. If you receive injuries from an accident, you’ll need to obtain copies of your medical records after you’ve finished treatment.
Utah Negligence Law
You need four main elements to have a personal injury claim in Utah: duty, breach, causation, and damages. It will be up to you to prove that the other party owed you a duty of care during the accident, breached this duty by acting negligently or intentionally, and caused your accident resulting in damages. You will also need proof that you suffered damages in the accident, such as personal injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How Much is Your Personal Injury Claim Worth?
It is not always worthwhile to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit in Utah. However, you might have a case if it involves a traumatic brain injury, burn, spinal injury, medical malpractice, workplace accident, car accident, birth injury, asbestos-related illness, dangerous premises, criminal act, nursing home abuse, or wrongful death. Additionally, if you exceed the state threshold of $3,000, you may benefit from a personal injury claim. Meaning that if your damages or bills exceed $3,000, you can pursue a case. You can find out the potential value of your case with help from an attorney. You can speak about this aspect during a free legal consultation prior to hiring an attorney.
The amount you could win from compensatory and punitive damages should be more than the legal fees to file. Damages which you can receive compensation for:
- Pain and Suffering (Physical injuries)
- Mental Anguish (PTSD, Depression, etc. caused by the accident)
- Loss of Consortium or Companionship
- Loss of Earning
- Loss of Future Earnings
- Medical Bills
- Cost of Future Medical Care
Wrongful Death Damages:
- Funeral and Burial Expenses
- Loss of Companionship and Consortium
- Loss of Financial Contribution
- Emotional Distress of Surviving Family Members
In some cases, the court might award punitive damages. Courts reward these damages to the plaintiff when the defendant’s negligent behavior proves to be despicable or reprehensible.
Filing Your Injury Claim in Utah
To file your claim, visit the civil courthouse in the county in which your accident and injuries happened. Go to the small claims court if the value of your case is $10,000 or less. The court clerk will give you the paperwork you need to fill out to bring your claim against the defendant. Fill this out fully and completely, with as much information as you can. The court will let the defendant know you’ve filed the claim, at which point the defendant may agree to enter into mediation and offer you a settlement or deny the claim. A claim denial may necessitate a court trial.
Shared Fault in Utah Injury Cases
You may file an injury lawsuit or insurance claim in Utah, only to hear the person or company you filed against shares fault with you. If you do share some of the liability for the injury, Utah’s comparative fault rule may reduce the amount of damages you can recover from another at-fault party. If you are found to be 50 percent or more at fault, you may be barred from collecting any damages at all.
For example, suppose that you receive injuries from an auto accident where another vehicle ran a red light. However, you were speeding through a yellow light. The court determines that the vehicle running the red light holds 80 percent fault and you hold the remainder. Say you receive an award of $15,000. Utah’s comparative fault rule applies to your damages award by reducing an amount equal to the percentage of fault assigned to you. In this example, you would receive $12,000. Additionally if found to be 50 percent or more at fault in the accident, your damages award drops to zero automatically and you lose your right to collect compensation from any other at-fault party.
Utah courts are required by state law to apply the comparative fault rule whenever an injured person is found to share fault in a court-based injury case, but insurance adjusters often bring up the rule during settlement negotiations.
Caps on Injury Damages
Utah, like many states, places a limit on some of the damages in personal injury cases. Specifically, Utah caps non-economic or ‘pain and suffering’ damages in medical malpractice cases at $450,000 for cases that occurred on or after May 15, 2010. However, this limit applies only to injury cases stemming from medical malpractice.
Injury Cases Involving the Utah Government
If you receive injuries due to the negligence of a government employee or agency in Utah, a different set of rules apply to your case. For instance, you have one year to file a claim after an injury involving Utah state. The Utah Governmental Immunity Act governs many injury claims involving the Utah government.
Utah is a No-Fault Car Insurance State
In car accident cases, Utah holds a no-fault system, which means that after most traffic accidents, an injured person’s own insurance company will provide coverage for medical expenses and lost income, no matter who was at fault for the accident. You can’t hold the other driver liable after a car accident in Utah unless your case meets a ‘serious injury’ threshold.
Were you or someone you know involved in a recent auto accident? Call Auto Accident Care Network now at 801-683-1948 to be connected with a live care advocate. Our team at AACN can connect you to trusted attorneys and doctors to schedule a free legal consultation, a free thirty-minute massage, and a no-cost medical exam!