Utah Auto Accident Settlements & Laws
Car accidents can be traumatic and expensive, especially if the accident is serious. According to data from the Utah Department of Public Safety, there were almost 30,000 reported motor vehicle crashes in 2019 alone. Understanding what to do after an accident is essential for anyone living in Utah.
Here we’ll explore car accident laws and information on insurance, fault, and other resources if you’ve been injured in a car accident and are trying to navigate the Utah car accident settlement provess.
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- How Much Is My Car Accident Settlement Worth?
How Much is the Average Utah Car Accident Settlement?
It is difficult to provide a definitive answer regarding Utah’s average car accident settlement, as each case is different and depends on various factors. However, the average car accident settlement for moderate injuries is around $30,000. This amount does not reflect the total amount you can recover in a settlement. Your settlement may be up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. This can only be determined after thoroughly investigating your case and the damages the accident caused. The compensation from an insurance company or court ruling will depend on several things, such as medical costs, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
What Factors Affect the Value of a Car Accident Settlement in Utah?
Utah has a no-fault policy for car accidents. It means each driver’s insurance company pays for their medical costs and expenses related to the accident, regardless of who was at fault. This reduces litigation costs and speeds up the settlement process.
The value of a car accident settlement in Utah will depend on various factors, such as the severity and type of car accident injuries sustained and property damage incurred during the accident. Medical bills will be taken into account when determining a fair settlement amount. The income lost due to missed work due to injury or disabilities can also influence an award amount. Other considerations include pain and suffering, emotional distress, reduced quality of life, and loss of consortium. Insurance companies may also consider how much liability is shared when evaluating a claim.
It is important to note that the factors listed above are just some factors that may affect the value of a car accident settlement in Utah. The specific value of your settlement will depend on the specific facts of your case.
Car Accident Laws in Utah
Utah has several laws that govern car accidents. These laws are designed to protect the rights of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians involved in accidents.
Utah is a no-fault state, meaning that your insurance company will pay for your medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses up to $3,000, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
If your medical expenses exceed $3,000, or if you have any other damages, you may be able to sue the other driver for those damages. However, you must prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident.
In Utah, the other driver’s fault is not always relevant in a car accident case. If your medical expenses exceed $3,000 or if you have any other damages, you may be able to sue the other driver for damages. To win your case, you must prove the other driver was at fault for the accident.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Utah
In Utah, the modified comparative negligence rule is used to determine negligence in a motor vehicle accident. Under this rule, the injured party in an accident cannot bring a personal injury claim against another person if their negligence level is 50% or more. So, if the plaintiff’s degree of negligence is 49% or lower, he can bring a personal injury claim against the other person. It is up to the jury or the insurance company to estimate the percentage of negligence involved for all parties in the accident.
Understanding comparative negligence law is important because it can reduce your compensation in a car accident claim. If you were 40% at fault for a car accident, your potential financial award will be reduced by 40%.
Reporting an Accident
If you are involved in a car accident in Utah, you are required to report the accident to the police. You should also exchange information with the other driver, including their name, address, insurance information, and driver’s license number.
Statute of Limitations
There are time limits for filing a car accident claim in Utah. You must file your claim within two years of the date of the accident. You may be barred from recovering damages if you do not file a car accident lawsuit within two years.
In a car accident case, you may recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. The amount of damages you can recover will depend on the specific facts of your case.
In Utah, you can claim the following damages from your insurance company under PIP in a car accident settlement:
- Medical expenses: This includes all of your medical bills, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and prescription drugs.
- Lost wages include any wages you lost due to the accident, up to $3,000.
- Essential services: This includes costs for transportation, childcare, and household help if you cannot do these things yourself due to the accident.
- It is essential to note that you cannot claim pain and suffering under the PIP policy, but you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
No Fault Law in Utah
In car accidents, Utah has a no fault system. This means after most motor vehicle crashes, the injured person’s insurance provider will give coverage for lost income and medical expenses, no matter who was at fault. Generally, you cannot hold the other driver liable in the car accident unless you have a ‘serious injury.’ Most minor fender bender accidents will fall under the no fault system. But if you can show that you have serious injuries, you may be able to file a claim against the at fault driver.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Utah
In Utah, all drivers are required to have auto insurance. The minimum liability limits are:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability: $15,000 per accident.
In addition to liability insurance, Utah drivers must also have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage pays for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs of up to $3,000, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Collision and comprehensive insurance are not mandatory in Utah but highly recommended. Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle if you are in an accident, regardless of who was at fault. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car from other perils, such as fire, theft, and vandalism.
What to Do If Your Insurance Company Lowballs You After a Car Accident in Utah
If your insurance company does not pay you what you deserve in a car accident settlement in Utah, you have a few options.
- Negotiate with your insurance company: You can negotiate with your insurance company to get a higher settlement. This is often the best option, as it can be faster and cheaper than going to court.
To negotiate with your insurance company, you should be prepared to provide them with all the evidence of your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You should also be ready to explain how your injuries have affected your life.
- File a complaint with the Utah Department of Insurance: If you cannot settle with your insurance company, you can file a complaint with the Utah Department of Insurance. The department will investigate your complaint and may take action against your insurance company.
- File a lawsuit: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint process, you can file a lawsuit against your insurance company. This is a more complex and time-consuming process, but it may be necessary if you cannot get a fair settlement during negotiations with your insurance company.
If you are suing your insurance company, you should consider speaking with an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and can represent you in court.
Can You Claim Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident in Utah?
You cannot claim pain and suffering damages in Utah under your PIP coverage. However, you may be able to recover these damages if you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. To recover pain and suffering, your injuries must meet certain thresholds, including:
- Permanent disability or impairment
- Permanent disfigurement
- Medical expenses over $3,000
If your injuries meet one of these thresholds, you may be able to sue the other driver for pain and suffering. However, you will need to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident.
What Taxes Apply to Utah Car Accident Settlements?
According to the IRS, payments you receive for physical personal injuries and physical sickness are received free of taxes. This is the case at the Utah state level as well. It does not matter if the personal injury settlement is a court-ordered award or a settlement out of court. It also does not matter if it is paid in installments or a lump sum.
Additionally, compensation that is provided to you for your emotional distress from a physical personal injury is also free of taxes. Distress on an emotional level is thought to be part of the physical personal injury process. Amounts that you receive for medical expenses are free of taxes as well.
However, some types of payments are taxable in Utah. These include:
- Interest payments: If your settlement includes interest payments for the time between your injury and the time you receive compensation, those interest payments are taxable.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are awarded to punish the at-fault party for their reckless or intentional actions. Punitive damages are taxable in Utah, even if they are awarded as compensation for your physical injury.
- Medical expenses: If you deduct medical expenses on your tax return and you later receive reimbursement for those expenses through a settlement, the reimbursement is taxable.
It is important to note that these are just general guidelines. Your settlement’s tax implications will depend on your case’s facts and circumstances. If you have any questions about the tax implications of your settlement, you should consult a tax advisor.
Statistics and Notable Utah Car Accident Settlements
The Salt Lake Tribune reported in 2016 that traffic deaths in the state rose by 7% in 2015, with a total of 275 people killed on Utah highways.
The superintendent of the Utah Highway Patrol reported that the increase could be because more people are driving more miles from lower gas prices. Another factor could be because of the growing state population. However, the largest share of blame is most likely human error and poor driving behavior. People are not wearing seatbelts, they are speeding and more people are driving drunk, according to public officials.
Recent hikes in traffic fatalities in Utah have come after a steep decline from 2002 to 2012. In that time, annual road deaths in the state dropped from 329 to 217. They have gone up every year since. The group with the largest jump in fatalities is pedestrians hit by a car. In 2014, there were 30 pedestrian deaths, but this increased to 47 in 2015.
One thing that did not seem to lead to a higher number of Utah traffic fatalities is the increase of the speed limit on urban highways to 70 MPH, and increasing the speed limit on some rural roads to 85 MPH. Public officials have not seen any increase in the number of fatalities based upon these changes.
Also, it is reported that ¾ of the fatalities on Utah roads are not on interstates but are on smaller roads. Overall, speed was found to be a factor in 58 deaths on Utah roads in 2015, but most of the vehicles were going well over the speed limit or were driving too fast for conditions.
The deadliest roads in Utah for 2015 were:
- Interstate 15: 36 deaths
- US 89: 13 deaths
- Interstate 80: 12 deaths
- Interstate 70: 10 deaths
- US 6: 11 deaths
- US 40: 7 deaths
Statistics from the Utah state government from 2012 to 2016 found the following top reasons for motor vehicle traffic deaths:
- Speed: 497 cases
- Unrestrained occupants: 377 cases
- Drunk driver: 158 cases
- Failure to yield: 154 cases
- Distracted driver 108
There were 469 deaths involving drunk drivers in this state from 2003 to 2012. The rate of death per 100,000 for drunk driving was 1.2, compared to 3.3 overall in the US. Given the higher population of Mormons in Utah who do not drink, this is a likely explanation for the lower number of drunk driving deaths.
One of the most notable car accident cases in Utah in recent years was the June 30, 2016 accident in Salt Lake City where a 17-year-old female intentionally rammed a car and killed the two occupants. She was allegedly trying to commit suicide and did not intend to kill the occupants of the other vehicle. The teen driver rammed the other vehicle from behind at 100 MPH and sent the other vehicle into a traffic signal pole. The passenger in the car that was struck died at the scene, and the driver died later.
Utah Car Accident Settlement Calculator:
Have you been involved in a motor vehicle accident or otherwise injured in Utah? Find out how much financial compensation you may be legally entitled to in just minutes with our free online Car Accident Settlement Calculator.
Utah Car Accident Resources
If you are in a car accident in Utah, you can be stressed and unsure what to do. First, it is very important to not leave the scene of the accident. You are required under state law to provide help to anyone who has been injured. If the accident involves any injuries, death or property damage above $1000, you must inform the highway patrol or Utah police as soon as possible.
Utah Office for Victims of Crime: The Utah Office for Victims of Crime can provide you with financial assistance and other support services if you have been injured in a car accident.
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