Car accidents are typical occurrences in the state of Utah. If you are injured in a car accident and the accident was as a result of someone that was at more fault than you, that person would be legally liable for the damages you incurred as a result of the accident. The term for proving legal liability of another individual in a car accident case is showing that the other driver was negligent, or deviated from the standard of care of what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation.
Damages for a car accident can include payment for damages and repairs done to a vehicle or replacement of a totaled or damaged vehicle. It can also include damages for any personal injury incurred that requires medical attention and reimbursement for those incurred medical costs past and future. It can also include compensation for the pain and suffering the person had to deal with from the injury as well as damages for any work taken off or lost due to the injury.
A person can prove the other driver of the car is legally liable or negligent through numerous ways. This can include the failure to follow traffic laws and signals and speeding. It can include failure to check a blind spot or distracted driving. It could be because the other driver was following the other car too closely. The accident could have occurred due to a faulty part of the vehicle of the other driver which could potentially lead to an additional product liability claim against the manufacturer of that product. There also could have been alcohol or other impaired substances involved that caused the accident.
What does Utah law require for Utah auto insurance policies?
In Utah, each driver of a vehicle is required to hold a vehicle insurance policy. As of May of 2021, which can be subject to change in the future, the minimum liability limits of coverage is $25,000.00 for bodily injury per person, $65,000.00 for bodily injury per accident and $15,000.00 for property damage per accident.
What is personal injury protection under my Auto Insurance policy?
Also under Utah law, each insurance policy is required to have a personal injury protection known as (PIP). Each PIP is supposed to cover $3,000.00 per person. How PIP works in Utah, is that if there is an accident, first each person has their own personal PIP policy cover any expenses incurred from a personal injury for an accident. If the medical expenses are less than $3,000.00, then you are covered under your own insurance. This payment does not matter who was at fault.
Anything above $3,000.00, the other party is liable to pay if the other party was more at fault than you for the car accident.
What do insurance companies do to determine who is liable for the car accident?
Insurance companies usually do an arbitration between each other where there is a short presentation of the events that occurred. At that point, an arbitrator decides who was more at fault. The insurance companies are bound by that decision and cannot continue to pursue the other insurance company for your injuries. However, you are not bound by that decision if you disagree with it and can still pursue damages if it is determined that the other person was not at more fault than you.
What if my damages for personal injury are more than $25,000 or if the other driver did not have an insurance policy?
If in the unfortunate event the other party is at fault and they did not have insurance, your insurance company may also have uninsured driver protection. If your personal injuries are more than $25,000.00, then your insurance company may also have underinsured protection. This is also if your car is worth more than $15,000.00 which can be a likely scenario.
Additionally, if your personal injury damages are more than $25,000.00 and more than your auto insurance policy will cover under an underinsured policy, you can still pursue a lawsuit against the other driver for the additional damages. This occurs when the car accident is more serious and causes life-changing injuries or if the accident resulted in the death of a loved one.
Any additional damages that are not covered under an auto-insurance policy, the at fault driver would have to pay you personally. Even though you can file a lawsuit against someone and get judgment against them, collecting on that judgment may be difficult if that individual does not have a lot of money to cover the additional damages.
If the driver also died from the accident, you still may be able to pursue a claim against the deceased driver. If the accident was from a driver that was working on behalf of a company, you may be able to pursue a claim against the company such as an accident from a truck driver.
There also may be other insurance policies involved if it was a rental car or if the driver was borrowing the car from another person.
Our skilled personal injury attorney can help you evaluate your case if you are having issues with your insurance company or the other insurance company paying you for your injuries or if your damages are above both policy limits. Reach out to our Utah personal injury law firm for an evaluation of your case and your options today.