Car Accident Attorney in Utah
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Utah Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a collision, a Utah car accident lawyer can offer support and guidance, as Utah’s laws can be tricky in this area.
When you own a car in Utah, state law mandates maintaining a minimum level of motor vehicle insurance while operating the vehicle within its borders. Even non-residents can be subject to these laws if they stay for an extended period of time. Additionally, Utah observes no-fault insurance law, which restricts the parameters in which injured parties can sue for compensation. Because of no-fault limits, injured victims often have to resort to professional legal help to understand and overcome the challenges.
Morgan and Morgan are here to lend a hand to Utah residents by providing our expertise on how to secure compensation from negligent drivers and their insurers.
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What Is Utah's No-Fault Insurance System?
The no-fault insurance system is utilized in a handful of states with the goal of making it easier for individuals to get medical care regardless of fault, lowering the costs of auto insurance, and limiting the number of lawsuits. It also removes the ability to obtain payment for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Vehicle owners must carry insurance with a minimum of $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident for bodily injury, along with $3000 in personal injury protection coverage (PIP). Property damage minimum liability coverage is $15,000 per accident.
However, opponents of the no-fault insurance system argue that it incentivizes insurers to raise premiums to offset the cost of providing coverage for injured parties that the at-fault driver would have otherwise covered. It may also encourage reckless driving behavior because drivers know any accident they cause will just be covered, regardless of who was responsible. Finally, people who have suffered an accident that wasn't their fault may feel frustrated and deprived of justice when a negligent driver isn't subjected to more severe financial consequences
Even so, since it's the law, injured parties have to work within the boundaries of the system. Currently, (PIP) insurance pays for medical care, lost wages, and lost household services regardless of fault. However, the minimum is set at $3000, which won't help much if you've been seriously injured and only carry the basic requirements for insurance. Higher PIP coverage is available but at additional expense. Property damage, however, is not subject to the no-fault system. When it comes to getting your vehicle repaired or replaced, the at-fault party assumes the responsibility.
What Is the Threshold for Pursuing Compensation Against an At-Fault Driver in Utah?
Fortunately, Utah's no-fault insurance system is not without exceptions. Suppose you suffered injuries that exceed $3000 in medical expenses or suffered specific bodily harm. In that case, you might have surpassed the injury threshold that limits taking legal action. Here are the conditions that permit injured parties to pursue a lawsuit against a negligent driver:
- Permanent disability
- Permanent impairment
- Permanent disfigurement
- Bodily dismemberment
Suppose you've been injured in such a manner as described above. In that case, you have the option to request compensation from the other party's insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of one of our qualified Utah car accident lawyers. Under these special circumstances, you can also seek redress for your non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, and emotional distress, which aren't an option under the no-fault system.
How Do You Prove Fault in a Utah Car Accident Dispute?
Proving fault is vital if you want to be successful in settling a car accident dispute to your advantage. However, it comes with many challenges that are best handled by an experienced Utah car accident lawyer. Here are common methods that your Morgan and Morgan attorney will use to increase the chances of a favorable determination of fault:
Gathering Information - The collection of information concerning the accident should include the names and contact information of all parties involved, including witnesses. Police reports and any photographs of the scene, vehicle damage, and bodily injury will be part of this process.
Reviewing the Evidence - Analyzing the available evidence is a tried and true method for determining fault. The evidence may include skid marks, the location of vehicle damage, eyewitness accounts, and the police or accident report.
Identifying Relevant Laws - Your attorney will research any traffic laws or regulations that might be relevant to your claim. These laws can lay the groundwork to identify the at-fault party, such as who had the right of way, who violated traffic laws, or who was driving aggressively.
Consultation with Experts - Bigger law firms, such as Morgan and Morgan, have a network of experts available that assist with our cases. We may engage professionals that can help with accident reconstruction or provide technical testimony to support your version of the accident.
Establishing Negligence - Proving the other driver was negligent or reckless is crucial. We work to establish fault by demonstrating the other driver's negligent actions, such as driving while distracted, speeding, or failing to observe traffic laws.
Presenting your Case - Once we've developed a sound strategy, we present our findings and evidence to the other party's insurance company or the court, if required, to ensure you get meaningful compensation.
How Can Utah's Comparative Negligence Rule Affect My Car Accident Case?
It's important to be aware that Utah is a comparative negligence state which can significantly impact your ability to recover compensation, even if your injuries meet the threshold to step outside the no-fault system. Here is a breakdown of how this works:
A majority of states follow the comparative negligence doctrine, which means plaintiffs can recover damages even if they had a role in the cause of the accident. However, that amount is reduced proportionately to the degree of fault. While most other states are "pure comparative," Utah follows modified comparative negligence law. As a result, if you're found to be 50% or more at fault in the accident, you're barred from seeking compensation. Still, if you're 49% or less at fault, you can collect compensation proportionate to your fault.
For example, suppose it's concluded that you have 30% responsibility. In that case, whatever damages you're seeking would be reduced by 30% to account for your liability. A skilled Utah car accident lawyer will be crucial to effectively reduce your liability while focusing the attention on the other driver. Consult with Morgan and Morgan for the best strategies to prevail against a negligent driver.
What Other Utah Driving Laws Can Impact My Case?
No-fault insurance and comparative negligence laws matter substantially. Still, other Utah laws can impact the outcome of your case, too, including the following:
Seat Belt Laws - Utah has a primary seat belt law, which means drivers can be pulled over if they're not wearing one. Additionally, all occupants of a vehicle must wear a seatbelt. Children 8 years old and younger must be properly restrained in either a car or booster seat. Unbuckled occupants can become projectiles and risk injuring or killing others, besides dying themselves in the event of an accident. If you weren't wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, the amount of compensation you might receive will be impacted.
DUI Laws - Utah observes strict DUI laws. If the other driver were impaired by drugs or alcohol, they would likely face criminal charges as well as being financially liable for the accident.
Statute of Limitations - Like every other state, Utah has a time limit for filing a lawsuit to recover damages in a civil proceeding. In general, the deadline to initiate a lawsuit is four years from the date of the accident. However, a few exceptions exist, such as if the plaintiff is a minor. If the responsible party is a government entity, the statute of limitations is far shorter and limited in scope. Don't lose your opportunity to be compensated. Once the deadline is passed, the courts won't hear your case, even if it's a compelling one.
What Makes Driving in Utah Dangerous?
Getting behind the wheel always comes with an element of risk, no matter where you are. Still, motorists in Utah have to be aware of a few factors that make driving more dangerous. Here are a few:
Weather Conditions - Winters in Utah can introduce some natural hazards. Severe weather conditions like heavy snowfall and icy roads significantly increase the chances of an accident. It's best to stay off the roads when possible or drive with extreme caution during the winter months.
High-Speed Limits - Utah has some of the most generous speed limits in the country. On some highways, you can travel up to 80 mph. Traveling at high speeds makes it more difficult for drivers to react to unexpected hazards or changes up ahead.
Rural Roads - Many Utah residents live in rural areas that have narrow roads with limited visibility. Rural drivers also take more risks, such as speeding, passing where prohibited, and failing to wear seat belts.
Wildlife - Utah wildlife includes deer, moose, elk, and the largest animal in Utah, the mountain bison, which may wander onto roads and cause an accident.
Tourist Traffic - The national parks and other attractions in Utah make it a popular spot for tourists. However, with increased traffic comes the very real risk of collisions, mainly because tourists are unfamiliar with the area.
Distracted Driving - Driving while distracted isn't unique to Utah drivers. In fact, it's a national epidemic. Drivers who operate a motor vehicle while talking on the phone, eating, or interacting with passengers are more likely to cause an accident. Suppose distracted driving can be established as the reason for a collision. In that case, the distracted driver will be liable for any damages.
What Can I Expect Working With Morgan and Morgan?
Since you're looking for a Utah car accident lawyer, you might already understand the value of legal help. Let's go through a few compelling reasons why working with Morgan and Morgan would be your best choice.
For one, we will protect your rights. Clients often come to us because they've been offered a settlement that doesn't adequately address their losses. You don't have to accept that. You have the right to be fairly compensated for your damages. We will work to ensure you know all your legal options and help you exercise your right to pursue the best one for your unique circumstances.
Your lawyer will also help you manage the legal process, which can be overwhelming, especially when seriously injured. We will help determine fault and liability, which can be difficult, particularly if several other parties are involved, such as a multi-vehicle accident or one involving commercial drivers. We'll also do our best to ensure you get the maximum compensation for your accident through our proven negotiation tactics and experience.
Finally, you'll get peace of mind knowing that everything will be handled by a highly qualified Utah car accident lawyer with access to all the resources our law firm offers. Being one of the largest legal practices in the country, Morgan and Morgan arms every one of our lawyers with advanced tools and a support system they need to win.
Reach out today for your free case evaluation. There's no upfront fee, and you only pay under the condition that we resolve your issue successfully.