If you’ve been injured by a negligent motorist in a car crash in Utah, let a Salt Lake City car accident attorney deal with the insurance company on your behalf. You can’t take any risks with your health and future. If you’ve suffered an injury, take your case to an attorney at once.
It is not difficult to be injured in a car accident in Utah. In 2018, for example, more than 62,000 traffic accidents happened on Utah’s streets and highways. More than 25,000 injuries were reported that year, along with 260 fatalities.
If you have been involved in a car accident, but you were not injured, you will probably find it more expedient and practical to handle a property damage claim on your own. Most property damage claims are resolved quickly and smoothly by most auto insurance companies.
When Should You Contact a Car Accident Attorney?
However, if you’ve been injured by a careless driver, and if you need to file a personal injury claim, you must have a Utah accident attorney’s help. You can’t risk your health and your future. Your vehicle can be easily replaced, but your health and your future are too important.
In some cases, the law in Utah entitles an injured victim of negligence to recover compensation for medical bills arising from a car crash as well as projected future medical costs, lost wages and projected lost future wages, personal pain and suffering, and related losses and damages.
However, if you qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit and you choose to do so, you and your attorney should be able to prove that the other driver was negligent and that, as a direct consequence of that negligence, you sustained a personal injury or injuries.
Automobile insurance companies, like all companies, are in business for profits, but insurance companies also have legal and ethical obligations. As an injured victim of negligence, you can’t afford to have an insurance company undervalue, delay, or reject your injury claim.
How Does Auto Insurance Work in Utah?
Utah is a “no-fault” auto insurance state, so an injury victim’s options for pursuing a claim may be limited. Not every person who is injured in a car accident in Utah will qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Under a no-fault system, after an accident, your own auto insurance (your personal injury protection or “PIP” coverage) pays for medical treatment and other losses suffered by anyone who’s covered, up to the coverage limits, without regard for which driver caused the accident.
However, a no-fault claim may not cover your medical needs if you are catastrophically injured or permanently disabled in an auto collision. Utah requires drivers to carry a minimum of only $3,000 in PIP coverage.
You’ll need considerably more compensation if you’ve sustained a serious spinal cord injury, for example, or a severe traumatic brain injury. Moreover, a no-fault claim will not compensate you for your pain, emotional suffering, or any other non-monetary damages arising from a car crash.
When Can You Bring a Lawsuit Against a Driver Who Injures You?
To move out of the no-fault system and bring a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, your injuries must satisfy these criteria established by Utah law: The injury victim must incur at least $3,000 in medical bills as a result of the accident, or the victim must have sustained injuries causing:
- permanent disability
- permanent disfigurement, or
- permanent impairment
With the help of a Salt Lake City car accident lawyer, if your injuries qualify, you can hold the at-fault driver responsible for the accident with a personal injury lawsuit, and you may pursue compensation for non-economic losses as well as medical bills and lost wages.
When Should You Talk to an Auto Insurance Company?
If you’re injured in an auto accident, you will be required to report the accident and speak with your own insurance company. Say as little as possible, stick to the facts, and say nothing that might be misconstrued as an admission of fault for the accident.
However, if your injuries qualify, and you file a personal injury lawsuit, you do not have to speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and you shouldn’t. Don’t make any statement, sign any forms or documents, or begin negotiating for your compensation.
Personal injury lawyers are tenacious, experienced negotiators, and in most cases, your lawyer will negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf. Refer the at-fault driver’s insurance company – and all of their questions and inquiries – to your Utah personal injury lawyer.
Consult an Attorney First
That’s why it’s imperative to have a lawyer’s advice and services from the very beginning – as soon as a doctor confirms that you were injured in a car accident. If you’ve been seriously injured, you’ll probably be contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company quickly.
Don’t be tricked by a claims adjuster’s pleasant and professional manner. A claims adjuster or any other insurance company representative assigned to your case, no matter how helpful and friendly that person may seem, is working strictly for the benefit of the company.
Again – do not speak to the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. If you are contacted before you are able to speak with an attorney, tell the company that you cannot make any statement until you have consulted with your attorney.
What Else Will Your Attorney Do On Your Behalf?
Most personal injury cases in Utah are resolved out-of-court, but if your claim is disputed and you are not offered a reasonable settlement, your Salt Lake City car accident attorney will take your lawsuit to trial and ask the jurors to award you the compensation you are entitled to by law.
Your attorney will examine the evidence in your case, speak to the witnesses, and develop an effective strategy for recovering compensation on your behalf. If necessary, your attorney will ask expert witnesses to offer detailed medical or technical testimony in support of your claim.
What Is the Deadline for Taking Legal Action?
Utah’s statute of limitations gives an injured victim of negligence four years to bring a personal injury lawsuit to court. But if you believe that you qualify to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver in Utah, you can’t wait four years. Don’t even wait four weeks.
Your Utah car accident attorney will want to see the evidence while it’s fresh and speak to the witnesses before their memories fade. If you are not sure who was at-fault, or if you are not sure whether you qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit, here’s what you should do.
Learn where you stand legally, and learn how the law applies in your own case. Your first consultation with a Salt Lake City accident attorney is provided at no cost and with no obligation, so schedule a consultation as soon as possible after you’ve been hurt in a car crash.