An Overview of Utah Car Accident Clams, Lawsuits and Lawyers
Famous for the Great Salt Lake and the location of the headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Utah is a popular destination for travelers looking for a taste of the American Southwest landscape. Significant towns in Utah include Salt Lake City and Brigham City, but the state may be better known for the diversity of its natural features. Within the state’s borders, travelers can observe sand dunes, mountains, pine forests, and lakes. Utah is the 33rd most populated state in the United States based upon 2013 census numbers and has a population of approximately 2.9 million people.
Because of its location, Utah roadways may be utilized by residents of the state as well as commercial vehicles traveling from one coast to the other and visitors looking to enjoy a vacation or sightsee in Utah. This can lead to injury or fatal car accidents that can result in considerable financial and physical harm.
Utah Car Accident Causes and Statistics
Despite the vast amounts of desert or wilderness in Utah, many of the state’s fatal collisions occur in urban areas, not rural areas. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 159 of the state’s 276 fatal collisions in 2015 occurred in urban areas. Unlike some other states (and probably due to the Mormon influence in the state), less than 25 percent of these fatal collisions involve a driver whose blood or breath alcohol concentration of over 0.08. Statistics from NHTSA also reveal that the number of fatal car crashes has been steadily rising since 2012.
Aside from fatal collisions, a car accident in Utah can also result in injuries. Sometimes, the expenses associated with these injury collisions can be greater than the economic costs of a fatality. If a person sustains a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury and is no longer able to work or care for him- or herself (for example), this victim may require hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars in order to care and compensate him or her. Aside from economic losses like medical care, therapy, lost wages, and prescription drug costs, a Utah car crash injury victim may also require compensation for mental or emotional trauma.
Utah is a “No Fault” State
Utah is one of about a dozen states that has “no fault” insurance laws on the books. Utah residents are required to carry no-fault insurance policies and have these policies in force when taking to the roads. In the event of an accident, each driver’s own insurance company pays up to the policy limits of that driver’s policy, regardless of who is at fault or who caused the crash. This usually is beneficial to drivers or passengers as it allows them to receive some compensation quicker. The disadvantage, however, is that it can make obtaining compensation from the other party more difficult and time-consuming.
Utah law also follows a “50 percent bar” rule that applies in situations where both parties bear some responsibility for causing the crash. In the event a lawsuit is filed and evidence shows the injury victim is responsible for causing the crash, the law will permit that injury victim to recover some amount of damages so long as he or she is less than 50 percent responsible for causing the crash. If the injury victim is determined to be 50 percent or more responsible for the crash, he or she will not be entitled to any compensation. If the victim is partly responsible, any compensation he or she would receive would be reduced by the amount of responsibility he or she bears for causing the crash.
Utah’s Statute of Limitations
Utah Code Annotated Section 78-12-28 has a rather generous statute of limitations for personal injury and car crash victims. These individuals have four years from the date of their car crash within with to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation. Even though this may appear to be a considerable amount of time, it passes quickly when one considers that the injury victim must investigate the cause of his or her crash, locate and interview witnesses, determine what legal rights he or she may have, and prepare the appropriate documents to initiate a lawsuit.
Where to Turn for Help with Your Utah Car Accident Case
You can make better use of your time can be made if you retain the services of a Utah car crash attorney. Stern Law, PLLC helps car injury victims prepare and pursue lawsuits and claims following injury or fatal car crashes. Our firm is dedicated to making the recovery process as simple and streamlined as possible so that our clients can focus on their personal and professional lives. Contact Stern Law, PLLC to discuss your car accident case by calling (844) 808-7529 today.